De Lima thanks US Congresswoman Schakowsky for joining calls for her release


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has thanked US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky for calling for her immediate release and full exoneration from the fake and trumped-up cases against her just a week before she marks her fourth year of unjust detention on Feb. 24.

Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, is the recent addition to the growing number of international leaders expressing concern about De Lima’s continued political persecution.

“Congresswoman Schakowsky, I am both grateful and humbled for your support and concern for my situation here in the Philippines,” she said.

“Only through unity and solidarity of fellow undaunted women such as yourself can we stand up against those who still use misogyny and sexism to keep us bowed and afraid,” she added.

In a statement released last Feb. 18, Schakowsky said the acquittal of De Lima in one of the trumped-up charges filed against her was “a step in the right direction” but maintained that it was “not enough.”

“The remaining charges against Senator De Lima must be dropped and she must be released immediately. Senator De Lima has been unjustly detained for nearly four years, simply for speaking out against the Duterte Administration and its egregious abuses of power,” Schakowsky said.

“I stand with Senator De Lima and the people of the Philippines in their quest for human rights, free speech, press, and assembly, and for democracy itself,” she added.

It may be recalled that Judge Liezel Aquiatan of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 205 granted De Lima’s Demurrer to Evidence in Criminal Case No. 17-166 last Feb. 17; the granting of a Demurrer is tantamount to acquittal.

The same court, however, denied her Demurrer and Motion for Bail in Case No. 17-165. She also has a pending bail motion on her third case before the Muntinlupa RTC, Branch 256 (Case No. 17-167).

In addition, Schakowsky vowed “to work with my colleagues to continue to hold the Duterte government responsible for its campaign of lies, intimidation, and violence against Senator De Lima, other prisoners of conscience, and the Philippine people.”

Aside from Schakowsky, US Senators Ed Markey, Richard Durbin, and Patrick Leahy recently renewed their call for De Lima’s immediate release and full exoneration in a recent joint statement where they also maintained that the Senator’s acquittal in one of the three trumped-up cases against her was “clearly not enough.”

Likewise, US Senator Marco Rubio on Twitter welcomed the news of De Lima’s acquittal saying that he “reaffirms his call in urging the Philippine authorities to respect Sen. De Lima’s rights and drop all charges against her.”

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