Press Release
April 19, 2018

De Lima thanks European liberals for concern about her plight

Senator Leila M. de Lima today thanked influential members of the European Parliament (EP) for filing a resolution urging the Philippine government to drop all politically-motivated charges against her and end any further acts of harassment against her.

De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, said she appreciates the motion for resolution which, among others, reiterates their incessant call for her immediate release and for her adequate security while in detention.

"Despite the persistent attacks and lies thrown against me by the vengeful Duterte regime, I am thankful for the constant concerns of my fellow parliamentarians about my plight and their firm belief of my innocence," she said.

Last April 17, 24 European liberals belonging to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) have lodged a four-page motion for resolution before the EP reiterating their call for De Lima's immediate release from unjust detention.

ALDE is the fourth largest and one of the three oldest political groups of the EP composed of liberals and democrats in Europe.

"(The EP) calls on the authorities of the Philippine government to ensure a fair trial, recalling the right to the presumption of innocence; to drop all politically motivated charges against her and to end any further acts of harassment against her," the resolution said.

The resolution which reiterates EP's previous resolutions on the situation in the Philippines adopted in March 16, 2017 also called on the European Union to keep closely monitoring the case against De Lima.

Notably, the resolution also called on the Philippine authorities to remove UN Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz from the terrorist list and reiterated the need for the Commission to use all available instruments to persuade the Philippines to end the extrajudicial killings linked to Duterte's war on drugs.

The former justice secretary said the overwhelming support she is getting from the international community, including her fellow parliamentarians and human rights advocates, never fails her that she should keep fighting the good fight.

"With the growing clamor for accountability, I am certain that justice will one day catch up with Duterte and his minions. I wake up every day with renewed determination knowing that I am not alone in my fight for truth and justice," she said.

De Lima also commended ALDE for addressing the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, particularly the extrajudicial killings under Duterte's campaign on illegal narcotics.

Duterte's war on drugs, which has claimed thousands of lives, has gained criticism on local and international fronts but the President refuses to issue a clear and categorical order to stop the killings.

The parliamentarians from ALDE are just some of the growing number of human rights advocates and multilateral organizations who have expressed serious concern over the illegal arrest and unjust detention of De Lima over trumped-up drug trade charges.

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