"Senator Leila, a Political Prisoner"

August 16, 2019
August 15, 2019
July 2019
July 26, 2019
June 25 and July 11, 2019
June 16, 2019
May 13, 2019
April 23, 2019
April 6-10, 2019
April 4, 2019
March 14, 2019
March 8, 2019
February-March 2019
February 28, 2019
February 28, 2019
February 25, 2019
February 24, 2019
February 24, 2019
February 24, 2019
February 23, 2019
February 23, 2019
February 22, 2019
February 18, 2019
February 8, 2019
February 7, 2019
February 2019
December 23, 2018
December 2018
November 5, 2018
August 24, 2018
August 23, 2018
August 7, 2018
July 28, 2018
July 11, 2018
May 25, 2018
April 19, 2018
April 17, 2018
April 17, 2018
March 28, 2018
March 13, 2018
February 14, 2018
February 1, 2018
January 23, 2018
January 22, 2018
January 4, 2018
December 10, 2017
November 11, 2017
October 18, 2017
October 10, 2017
September 19, 2017
September 19, 2017
September 18, 2017
August 31, 2017
August 8, 2017
July 22, 2017
July 20, 2017
July 19, 2017
June 3, 2017
May 29, 2017
May 24, 2017
May 16, 2017
May 11, 2017
April 5, 2017
March 16, 2017
February 24, 2017
February 23, 2017
November 2016-February 2017
September-November 2016
September 19, 2016
August 25, 2016
August 22, 2016
August 11, 2016
August 2, 2016
July 13, 2016
May-June 2016
December 2014
September 2009
March 2009
De Lima appeared before Muntinlupa RTC Branch 205
With her furlough request approved, De Lima was able to stay by her ailing 86-year-old mother’s side for 8 hours in their residence in Iriga City, Camarines Sur.

As this developed, a 3-year-old edited and spliced video of her speech against extrajudicial killings, which made it appear that she admitted to being a drug lord protector, resurfaced.
Making her the sixth judge to exit from De Lima’s drug cases, Judge Amelia Fabros-Corpuz of Muntinlupa RTC Branch 205 availed of early retirement effective end of July.
De Lima was also impleaded as one of the 36 respondents in the charges of sedition, inciting to sedition, libel, cyberlibel, estafa and obstruction of justice filed by the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) based on the claims of Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy.
Two (2) direct and indirect bribery cases involving alleged drug payoffs to De Lima—one case pertaining to alleged cash deliveries from Kerwin Espinosa, a self-confessed drug lord whose father, Mayor Rolando Espinosa, was summarily killed while detained in a provincial jail, and the other case based on the very same allegations and evidence in the drug cases involving Bilibid inmates—have been subjected to preliminary examination before the Office of the Ombudsman.
With the court granting her request for furlough, De Lima attended , for two (2) hours, the thanksgiving dinner of his son Vincent, who just passed the Bar, at Club Filipino in San Juan.
With the court allowing her to vote in the midterm elections, De Lima under heavy guard, cast her ballot at Saint Rita College in Parañaque City.
The Board of Supervisors of the city and county of San Francisco adopted a resolution condemning President Duterte’s war on drugs and the unjust detention of Senator De Lima.
During its 140th assembly in Doha, Qatar, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) has renewed its call for the immediate and unconditional release De Lima, whom it cited as one of the 187 persecuted members of parliament (MPs) worldwide.
Five US senators, in Senate Resolution 142, condemned the continued detention of De Lima and called on the Philippine government to immediately release the Senator.

Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) filed a bipartisan resolution. SR 142 was also supported by US Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Chris Coons (D-DE).
Six US lawmakers, in House Resolution 233, condemned the continued detention of De Lima and called on the Philippine government to immediately release the Senator.

The resolution was introduced by California Representative Jackie Speier. It was co-sponsored by Representatives James McGovern of Massachusetts, Henry Johnson of Georgia, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Brad Sherman of California and Lloyd Doggett of Texas.
In a statement released on the commemoration of International Women’s Day, US Senator Bob Menendez called for the redoubling of efforts to free De Lima, along with other female political prisoners.
In a report submitted to the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, cited De Lima as among the women human rights defenders under threat.

Also mentioned in the report were former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Rappler’s chief executive Maria Ressa.
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) released a 40-page report title, “I’ll kill you along with drug addicts – President Duterte’s war on human rights defenders in the Philippines”, as it urged the international community to press the Duterte to end all the atrocities, including the harassment of political opponents such as De Lima.
US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel, along with Reps. Brad Sherman and Ted Yoho, Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation and Rep. Steve Cabot, wrote in a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that in his trip to Manila, he should uphold human rights and press for justice in De Lima’s case, and that of journalist Maria Ressa.
Anita Vandenbeld, Member of the Canadian Parliament, in a statement read in the House of Commons. “Mr. Speaker, I ask members to join me in calling for the immediate release of Senator De Lima,” she said to the applause of those present.
The Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) renewed its call to release De Lima upon her second year in detention.

The international network of lawmakers asserted that the detention of the Senator lacks legal basis and that she was arrested “in apparent retaliation for leading a Senate inquiry into the drug war killings.”
The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights issued a statement in solidarity with De Lima, saying that “everyday she languishes in jail, Philippine democracy is further undermined.”
In a letter addressed to European Commission Vice President Federica Mogherini, 18 members of the European Parliament have called for more pressure on the Philippine government to free De Lima.
On the eve of the second anniversary of De Lima’s arrest and detention, the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) renewed its call to free the Senator.
The Global Campaign to Stop Extrajudicial Killings stood in solidarity with De Lima during the People Power Anniversary commemoration.
Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International (AI) and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), in a joint statement, called on the Philippine government to drop the “politically-motivated” against De Lima. It noted the “arbitrary detention and mistreatment” of the Senator.
The Australian Parliament approved the motion of Chris Hayes of the Australian Labor Party, in a speech before the Parliament, pressing its government to use all diplomatic means to urge the Duterte administration to release De Lima.

“The case of Senator De Lima is a clear example of what happens when a government seeks to circumvent the rule of law,” Hayes said in his speech.
The House Minority issued a similar resolution for the Philippine government’s enforcement of WGAD’s recommendations on the case of De Lima.

House Resolution No. 2506 was signed by Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Quezon City Rep. Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte, Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr., and Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin.
The Senate Minority, led by Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, along with Senators Francis Pangilinan, Antonio Trillanes IV, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, and Risa Hontiveros, filed Senate Resolution No. 1019, urging the Philippine government to follow the recommendations made by UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) which has called for the detained opposition Senator’s release.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) called out the way police escorts have been blocking De Lima from the public and media during her attendance at court hearings, asserting constitutional rights of innocence and equal protection. A group of De Lima’s supporters similarly voiced their concerns of “rough handling” of De Lima whenever she appears in public to attend court hearings.
For her second Christmas in detention, De Lima said she received the “best Christmas gift”—a visit from her 86-year-old mother. It was the first time they saw each other for almost two years.
Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, called the arrest of De Lima for drug charges a “politically motivated defamation campaign”.
Acting on De Lima's motion for inhibition grounded on lack of impartiality, Judge Lorna Navarro-Domingo of Muntinlupa RTC Branch 206 inhibited herself from the trial. (17-167)
The UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) adopted an opinion expressing serious concern for De Lima and referring her case to 3 Special Rapporteurs to probe the violations against her.

The opinion adopted was published for general distribution on November 30, 2018.
The SC en banc voted 10-3 to deny the motion for reconsideration filed by De Lima to personally participate in the oral arguments on the Philippine withdrawal from the ICC.
In a 10-2 vote, the Supreme Court (SC) denied De Lima’s plea to appear and orally argue in her petition against the Philippine government’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Kiat Sittheeamorn and Rachada Dhnadirek from the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) were denied a visit to De Lima.

A new requirement is being imposed currently on foreign visitors: secure a Note Verbale from the embassy concerned for submission to the Philippine Foreign Affairs Department, which shall recommend to the Philippine National Police (PNP) for approval of visit.
The Philippine National Police denied the request of Senate President Vicente Sotto III to allow De Lima, as Chair of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, to conduct committee hearings while in detention at Camp Crame.
De Lima’s furlough request to attend her son’s graduation in law school on June 3 was denied by the courts.

The double standard when it comes to De Lima’s case was to be expected. Previously, former senators detained on plunder charges were allowed to attend their children’s graduation and their father’s birthday celebration, etc.
In a plenary session, Members of the European Parliament through a resolution reiterated its call for the Philippine government to immediately release De Lima, as well as drop all politically motivated charges against her.
The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) has petitioned the European Parliament to adopt a resolution urging the Philippine government to drop all politically motivated charges against De Lima and end any further acts of harassment against her.
Without addressing point by point the substantive grounds raised in De Lima’s motion for reconsideration, the Supreme Court (SC), in a minute Resolution, denied with finality said motion, thereby, affirming the validity of her arrest based on the drug charges filed against her by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) reiterated its deep concern over the continued pre-trial detention of De Lima.
De Lima was granted a medical furlough as she underwent a CT scan at the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) in Quezon City.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the Philippine government to drop the politically-motivated charges against De Lima.
Judge Patria Manalastas-De Leon of Muntinlupa RTC Branch 206 opted for early retirement. (17-166)
After De Lima’s case was re-raffled to her court, Judge Myra Bayot-Quiambao of Muntinlupa RTC Branch 203 likewise inhibited herself, citing close personal relationship with a member of the prosecution panel. (17-165)
Presiding over the re-raffle, Judge Antonietta Pablo-Medina of Muntinlupa RTC Branch 276 also inhibited herself from the case, saying she was a classmate of De Lima. (17-165)
After allowing the admission of amended Information and following a plea from De Lima, Judge Juanita Guerrero of Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 204 inhibited herself from hearing the case. (17-165)
Phillippa Erica Dargan of Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF) based in Sydney, Australia and Rosslyn Joy Noonan of NZ Centre for Human Rights Law, Policy & Practice, Faculty of Law Auckland University, New Zealand were denied from meeting with Senator De Lima despite complying again with the 10-day prior notice rule. Their request for visit was submitted as early as November 5.
Enrique Guerrero Salom, Norbert Hans Neuser, Paolo Alberti—from the Global Progressive Forum (GPF)—were prevented from visiting the detained Senator.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) released a report saying it is considering sending a trial observer to monitor and report on the proceedings against De Lima to ensure she gets a fair trial.
Voting 9-6, the Supreme Court (SC) dismissed De Lima’s petition to recall the arrest warrant issued against her.

The SC came to this ruling, despite the fact that majority of its members cannot even agree on the nature of the charges against De Lima.

De Lima’s legal team argued that it is her basic constitutional right, as an accused, to know exactly the nature of the accusations against her.

One of the dissenting justices, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, referred to De Lima’s case as “one of the grossest injustices ever perpetrated in recent memory in full view of the Filipino people and the whole world.”
Tian Chua and Charles Santiago, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) officers from the Malaysian Parliament, along with fellow APHR members Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr., and Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin were barred from visiting detained De Lima despite having complied with the 10-day prior notice rule imposed by the PNP Custodial Center.
The Senate Minority filed Resolution No. 505, requesting for De Lima to be allowed to participate in sessions and other Senate functions. It remains pending at the Senate Committee on Rules.
De Lima’s request for furlough in order to participate in the Senate hearings, most notably on the then recent killing of 17-year-old Kian de los Santos under the drug war, was rejected.
Representatives from the Women’s Caucus of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD)—Jayanthi Devi Balaguru, Emily Lau, and Maysing Yang—visited De Lima.

They called for the Senator’s release, branding the charges against her as “politically motivated”.
A delegation from the FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights) and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) visited De Lima.
Liberal International (LI) President Juli Minoves was not allowed to visit De Lima at the PNP-Custodial Center in Camp Crame, with authorities citing alleged “poor staff work”.

Access to De Lima, however, was granted to LI Human Rights Committee Chair Markus Löning.
The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the US Congress held a hearing on The Human Rights Consequences of the War on Drugs in the Philippines, during which Phelim Kine, Deputy Director, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch (HRW), cited De Lima as among the outspoken critics persecuted by the Philippine government.

Kine said: “Exhibit A for that: Sen. Leila de Lima, former Secretary of Justice, who demanded accountability for the drug war, is now facing politically motivated drug charges herself.”
A delegation from the European Parliament paid a visit to the Senator. The following day, they issued a statement urging the Philippine government to allow De Lima to perform her legislative mandate.
De Lima, in one of her Dispatches from Crame, wrote:

“Today is my 100th day in detention, 100 days of gross injustice. An agony of an indefinite duration. But my spirit remains unbroken. I must keep the faith and finish the race.”

There is a lack of necessities and work tools for De Lima while in detention. She has no access to Internet, cellphone, laptop, TV or any gadget whatsoever. Her sleeping quarters remains without an airconditioning unit despite physician’s recommendations.

Randomly, police sentries inspect documents for the Senator, and in one instance, they confiscated alleged contraband items (photos of supporters with placards/sign boards saying “Free Leila”, “No to EJKs”, etc).
The Senate Minority filed Resolution No. 391, expressing support for De Lima’s request to vote on major legislations. It remains pending at the Senate Committee on Rules.
The IPU's Committee on Human Rights President Fawzia Koofi (Afghanistan), along with MP Fazle Karim Chowdhury (Bangladesh) and Rogier Huzienga, IPU Human Rights programme manager, visited De Lima in detention to check on her condition and get first-hand information about her case.
Amnesty International cited De Lima as one of the notable Women Human Rights Defenders Under Threat.
De Lima wrote a letter to then Senate President Koko Pimentel requesting that she be allowed to perform her mandate, at the minimum, voting in the Senate. Instead of responding to the request, Pimentel told reporters that De Lima’s lawyers should “work very hard.”
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) expressed its concern over the continued detention of De Lima as it called for a mission to the Philippines.
The European Parliament has issued a joint motion calling for the immediate release of De Lima.
De Lima was detained at the Philippine National Police Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City amid growing international clamor for her immediate and unconditional release.

Upon her arrest, De Lima told reporters at the Senate: “It is my honor to be imprisoned for what I am fighting for.”
An arrest warrant was issued against De Lima for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, Section 5, in relation to Section 3(jj), Section 26(b), and Section 28, of Republic Act No. 9165 (Illegal Drug Trading).
Based on the trumped-up charges and fabricated lies, various cases ranging from disbarment, to ethics complaint, to drug trade allegations were filed against De Lima.

Alongside the vicious statements of the President and his allies, the filing of cases left and right, De Lima has also been a constant target of fake news and disinformation.

The Senator’s family members were not spared. Her sister and son, for instance, were the subject of separate fake news reports claiming that they were arrested in an airport outside the country for carrying illegal drugs with them.
In the course of an inquiry at the House of Representatives, convicted criminals were presented as witnesses who linked De Lima to the illegal drug trade inside NBP.

During the hearings, congressmen resorted to slut-shaming and non-sensical questions primarily to destroy De Lima’s reputation.
After leading just three Senate hearings on the killings amid the government’s war on drugs, De Lima was ousted as Chair of the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee through the efforts of senators allied with the President.

The following day, she delivered another Senate privilege speech calling on Duterte to stop the killings.
Duterte released the so-called “drug matrix” purportedly showing that De Lima was at the heart of the drug trade operations inside NBP in Muntinlupa City.

Duterte would later admit the following month that the information in the drug matrix came from a foreign government.
De Lima presented Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed DDS hitman, as a surprise witness during the Senate hearing on the extrajudicial killings.

Under oath, Matobato testified that Duterte was the organizer and leader of the DDS, and that the summary execution of suspected drug addicts and pushers now occurring in the entire country followed the exact pattern of killings perpetrated by the DDS in Davao City under the command and direction of then Mayor Duterte.

Another self-confessed former DDS hitman, retired police officer Arturo Lascañas, who also appeared before the Senate to deny there were extrajudicial killings in Davao City, resurfaced in February 2017 to retract his previous denials.

Lascañas testified again in March 2017, this time before the Senate Committee on Public Order. But after just one hearing, Committee Chair Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson decided to terminate the probe, saying he saw no point in continuing it.
After De Lima announced that she will lead the Senate investigation into the drug war killings, Duterte told reporters in Davao City: “I will have to destroy her in public.”

He also admitted he was able to listen in on his critics “with the help of another country.”

From here on, Duterte started to attack and curse De Lima, touting her alleged sex video even though it is fake, and using her previous relationship with her security aide as her supposed link to the Bilibid drug trade.

Further public demolition of De Lima’s previously untarnished reputation continued with the chorus of attacks by Duterte’s most trusted appointees and allies in Congres.
De Lima delivered her privilege speech, “The Real Crisis We Face: Stop the Killings Now!” as she called for an end to extrajudicial killings under the Duterte government’s all-out war on drugs.
Senator De Lima, as Chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, filed Senate Resolution No. 9, initiating an investigation into the spate of extrajudicial killings which began and steadily increased as soon as Duterte, who promised to eliminate drug criminals, became President of the country.
Senator-elect De Lima received reports that agents allied with the administration were asking Bilibid drug lords to fabricate testimonies that they gave a share of their drug trade profits to De Lima, as then Justice Secretary, supposedly to finance her 2016 senatorial bid.
De Lima became the first Justice Secretary to lead a massive raid of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntilupa City, confiscating contrabands, demolishing luxury prison cells, and isolating 19 drug lords so they could no longer facilitate drug dealings from within NBP.

Several of these drug lords served as the main witnesses in the congressional hearing on the Bilibid drug trade against De Lima in September 2016.
CHR Chairperson De Lima and her team of investigators inspected an alleged dumping ground for bodies of DDS victims.

De Lima and her team unwittingly escaped their demise when they did not go as far into the property where a DDS army waited to ambush them upon Duterte’s order, according to the testimony of Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed DDS hitman.
CHR Investigation

As Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Leila M. de Lima investigated the extrajudicial killings being carried out by the Davao Death Squad (DDS) in the city of then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who has reported links to the vigilante group.

When he became president, Duterte revealed De Lima’s DDS investigation as cause for his vendetta against the Senator.

If injustice could be done to Leila, a sitting Senator, injustice could be done to anyone. One therefore is challenged to make a personal inquiry: What could I do; and if I have done something, is it enough?
Former President Benigno S. Aquino III
She faces obstacles and difficulties that would make stronger men shudder, yet Senator Leila is not constrained and limited by them. She draws strength from her ordeal and finds ways to give voice to the people’s cries, prison and all.
Vice President Leni Robredo
The way the President, the Secretary of Injustice continue berating her is really cause for a mistrial because her right to a due process is outrageously being violated.
Former Senator Rene Saguisag
To allow the continued detention of [De Lima] under this Information is one of the grossest injustices ever perpetrated in recent memory in full view of the Filipino nation and the entire world.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio
Your detention is the biggest symbol of what is wrong with our country; but your faith and courage is also the best symbol of hope for what we can do to heal this land.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas
The good Senator De Lima sits in her cell and feels the weight of injustice and does her good works. Day after day after hundreds of days. Two years’ worth of days.…I wonder what would happen if Filipinos were able to feel the anguish of their freedom being snuffed out?...I wonder if they could be taught to realize …nay, to FEEL …that Senator De Lima has been sacrificed for them. That she is carrying their burdens.
JoeAm, The Society of Honor
In a word, De Lima is in detention for the wrong crime — deliberately put in a maze of cement walls and barbed wire by the government’s chief lawyer, no less, with the consent of the justice secretary himself. This is not a mere technicality (“the difference between provisions doesn’t really matter, as long as she is in jail”) but a travesty (“she was accused of one thing, but is detained for another”).
John Nery, columnist

Next Hearing Schedule

August 30, 2019

Friday, 9:00 am
Muntinulapa RTC-Br. 205

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
Rm. 502 & 16 (New Wing 5/F) GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Diokno Blvd., Pasay City

Trunk Lines:
(632) 552-6601 to 70 local no. 5750

Direct Lines:
807-8489 / (Rm. 16) 807-8580 /local 8619


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Schedule of Hearings

July 2024