Re-electionist Senator Leila M. de Lima thanked the members of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) Foundation for joining the growing list of groups and personalities across the world demanding for her freedom.
De Lima, who recently marked her 5th year in unjust detention last Feb. 24, said the trust and support she received from the said group meant a lot to her.
““Despite the outright lies and unprecedented attacks thrown against me by the Duterte regime, I am blessed to have many people vouching for my integrity and fighting for my freedom,” she said.
“I thank the members of TOWNS Foundation for believing in my innocence and adding their voices to the loud call for my release. Indeed, you cannot silence the truth,” she added.
Last March 1, TOWNS Foundation, a non-profit organization of women spearheading projects and initiatives in the service of the nation, released a petition signed by 43 members appealing for the immediate release of De Lima from detention.
“It has been five years since she was arrested and detained, after being unjustly maligned, slut-shamed, her womanhood denigrated, her integrity questioned for her pursuit of the truth behind the Davao Death Squad and the extrajudicial killings of President Rodrigo Duterte’s War on Drugs,” the group’s statement read.
“We demand that LEILA DE LIMA BE FREED NOW,” it added.
In the petition, TOWNS maintained that charges against De Lima are “dubious and unfounded,” and her continued incarceration is “unjust, unconstitutional, and a blight on our justice system.”
“She was falsely charged with three counts of illegal drug trafficking and has been detained in virtual isolation in Camp Crame, deprived of liberty, access to radio, TV, Internet, and allowed only limited visits, even by family members. She has also been repeatedly denied bail,” the group stated.
“Senator de Lima has faced charges in three counts where her principal accusers are convicted drug lords who turned ‘state witnesses’, some of whom have since been murdered or died in prison. Seven of the judges hearing her cases have either resigned or sought early retirement. Last year, she was exonerated, found not guilty in one of her cases,” they added.
Among the 43 signatories are former Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, esteemed columnist Rina Jimenez David, broadcast journalists Ces Oreña-Drilon and Cheche Lazaro, civil rights activist Teresita Ang See, former Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita “Ging” Deles, former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral, former Labor Secretary Nieves Confesor, lawyer Lorna Patajo-Kapunan, PR and marketing strategist Yoly Ong, Singer Celeste Legaspi, and former Director General of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and De Lima’s aunt, Lilia de Lima. (30)