De Lima grateful for overwhelming support in campaign rallies


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Amid her continued unjust detention, support for Re-electionist Senator Leila M. de Lima during campaign sorties remain overwhelming, her Spokesperson and one of her legal counsels, Atty. Dino de Leon, shared.

In an online interview organized by Ateneo Batch 1980 during the series, “Ating Kilalanin ang mga Senatoriables,” De Leon said many of our countrymen continue to vouch for De Lima’s integrity and believe in her innocence amid efforts by the present administration to besmirch her reputation.

“Despite the fact na ipinakulong nila si Senator Leila de Lima, sinubukan nilang patahimikin, ang reception na nakukuha namin sa ground ay napaka-positibo, at naniniwala ang mga tao na imbento ang kaso laban sa kanya,” he said.

“Kasi malinaw naman na inosente siya, hindi naman maglalabas ng opinion ang UN [United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention] about her case kung hindi gawa-gawa lang ang kaso laban sa kanya,” he added.

It may be recalled that in August 2018, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) concluded in its Opinion No. 61/2018 that the detention of De Lima was arbitrary given the absence of a legal basis.

Last year, nine US Senators, led by Sen. Bob Menendez, filed US Senate Resolution No. 342 condemning the detention of women rights defenders and journalists around the world, including De Lima, and calling for their immediate release.

Just last month, the European Parliament issued a resolution condemning, among others, De Lima’s continued unjust detention while the Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) urged candidates for this year’s national elections to commit to freeing De Lima.

US Senators Marco Rubio, Patrick Leahy, Ed Markey and Dick Durbin, for their part, renewed their call for the freedom of De Lima.

Since De Lima cannot physically attend campaign rallies, De Leon shared that the lady Senator “had to vicariously experience the campaign through stories.”

“I visited her [recently], gusto niya magpakuwento sa kampanya,” said De Leon, who regularly attends campaign sorties bringing De Lima’s standee with him, within and outside Metro Manila.

Despite the limitation in campaign resources, De Leon shared that De Lima remains very hopeful and optimistic.

“Her spirit remains to be indomitable,” he said.

“If it were another person, if you’ve been incarcerated the last five years, that wouldn’t be easy. Pero now, all I can say is she’s very happy, very determined to continue the fight and she will fight until the end, and hopefully she wins the elections with the support of everyone,” he added.

De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime who remains detained over-trumped-up drug charges, marked her 5th year in unjust detention last Feb. 24. She has consistently and firmly asserted her innocence in the cases filed against her. Due to lack of evidence, she was acquitted in one of these three cases on Feb.  17, 2021. (30)

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