De Lima thanks European Union lawmakers, former CHR Comm Dumpit for urging next admin to address her unjust detention

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima expressed her gratitude to the European Parliament (EP) for expressing concern on her plight by urging the next administration to address her prolonged unjust detention.

 De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, also thanked former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit for her unflinching efforts to help secure her freedom. 

 “My most profound gratitude to the European Parliament (EP) whose commitment to democracy, justice and respect for the rule of law is truly commendable. I will forever be grateful for their continued support, concern and solidarity with me,” she said.

 “I also thank Commissioner Dumpit’s tireless and unwavering commitment to raise awareness on human rights issues in the country, particularly on my continued unjust detention. Thank you for your ceaseless effort to let the world know of my situation,” she added.

 During a European Parliament human rights subcommittee meeting last June 15, lawmakers and officials expressed concern over pressing issues in the Philippines, including De Lima’s prolonged detention, the lack of transparency and accountability in Duterte’s drug war, and the attacks on free press and dissenting voices.

 According to them, if these concerns are not seriously addressed by the next administration, European lawmakers would consider the revocation of the Philippines’ trade perks and market access under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+).

 Mark Gallagher, deputy head for Southeast Asia of the European External Action Service, said that “the EU conveyed a message of urgency to the Filipino authorities to address all these issues and concerns, and that is our key message to the new administration.”

 Talking specifically about De Lima’s case, Gallagher said he hopes that the next administration will “now act appropriately” and respect De Lima’s right to due process.

In highlighting De Lima’s political persecution and in seeking justice for her, Dumpit, who served as one of the resource persons to the subcommittee meeting, said: “I would like to share with you of course is the plight of Senator Leila de Lima who’s been languishing in jail and despite the recantation of three witnesses, there has been no serious review of her case.”

Dumpit added: “We would like this case to be thoroughly reviewed by the next administration, and hopefully, the cases which we believed to be trumped-up cases, to be withdrawn.”

Last February, the European Parliament issued a resolution condemning, among others, De Lima’s continued unjust detention and other human rights abuses in the country.

Last year, the EP also adopted a resolution calling, among others, for action on the deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines under the present administration and for De Lima’s immediate release from unjust detention.

In March 2017 and April 2018, the EP also adopted resolutions on the human rights situation in the Philippines, highlighting the political persecution De Lima is subjected to under the Duterte regime. (30)

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