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De Lima elated over win in 2nd drug case but says fight for justice far from over

By: Beatrice Pinlac - @inquirerdotnet - | May 12,2023 - 03:40 PM

FILE PHOTO from the official Facebook page of former Senator Leila De Lima

FILE PHOTO from the official Facebook page of former Senator Leila De Lima

MANILA, Philippines — Former senator Leila de Lima is over the moon after she was cleared of two of three drug cases filed against her during the Duterte administration. But, she said, the fight for justice is far from over.

Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 204 on Friday acquitted de Lima and her aide Ronnie Dayan, of involvement in the illegal drug trade. They were accused of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading as the former justice chief allegedly received P10 million from former corrections chief Rafael Ragos to finance her 2016 senatorial bid. The money purportedly came from inmates of the New Bilibid Prison.

READ: Leila de Lima acquitted in 2nd drug case

“Sa huli, tayong lahat na lumaban para manaig ang katarungan ngayong araw na ito ang nagwagi, gaano man tayo sinubukang durugin at patahimikin ng mga lumapastangan sa ating bayan. Sa pagkamit ko ng hustisya sa araw na ito, malinaw sa akin na hindi rin ito ang katapusan. Tuloy ang aking laban,” De Lima said in a statement.

(In the end, all of us who fought for justice to prevail today are the winners, no matter how much those who malign our country try to crush and silence us. As I got justice today, it is clear to me that this is not the end either. My fight continues.)

De Lima, a fierce critic of former President Rodrigo Duterte, also said she had “no doubt from the very beginning” that she would be cleared in all the cases that the administration of his nemesis “fabricated” against her, citing her merits and innocence.

The decision of the Muntinlupa City RTC Branch 204’s acquittal of de Lima is her second after Muntinlupa City RTC Branch 205 dismissed another drug case against her in 2021.

One more drug charge is pending before Muntinlupa RTC Branch 256.

“I am, of course, happy that with this second acquittal in the three cases filed against me, my release from more than six years of persecution draws nearer. I am extremely grateful to all those who stood by and prayed for me all these years,” De Lima said.

“Hindi ninyo ako iniwan. Hindi ninyo ako pinabayaan. Maraming salamat sa inyong paninindigan na balang araw ay makakamit ko ang katarungan, lalaya, at makakasama kayong muli,” de Lima added.

(You did not leave me alone. You did not abandon me. Thank you very much for your affirmation that one day I will achieve justice, be free, and be with you again.)

The embattled former lawmaker, however, lamented losing the chance of seeing some family members and friends ever again in the six years that she is incarcerated at the custodial center of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

“Ito marahil ang pinakamasakit na nangyari sa panggigipit sa akin. Gayunpaman, itinuring ko itong pagsubok sa tatag ng aking loob at lalim ng aking pananampalataya sa Panginoon,” she said.

(This is probably the worst pressure that has ever happened to me. Nevertheless, I considered it a test of the strength of my heart and the depth of my faith in the Lord.)

De Lima has been in detention since February 2017. She was arrested shortly after seeking a Senate investigation into former President Duterte’s brutal “drug war.”


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