365 days of injustice
Today marks the first year of Sen. Leila de Lima’s unjust detention. She was arrested not because the government has a case, let alone strong evidence against her, but because she adamantly opposed its murderous war on drugs making her the first high-profile political prisoner of the Duterte administration.
She is also a victim of a vicious political vendetta because she questioned President Duterte’s abuse of power and approval of extrajudicial killings since he was mayor of Davao, and now his failed war on drugs. Powerful personalities now affiliated with the current administration whom De Lima pursued as justice secretary are also likely behind her persecution.
Government resources are continuously being used to brainwash the public to believe that De Lima is an evil woman, corrupt and a conduit in the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison. But almost a year after her arrest, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has affirmed that drug trade in the state penitentiary continues to flourish. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and the President are suspiciously silent on this issue because we suspect they have an “ex-deal” with these convicted drug lords in exchange for their false testimonies against De Lima.
Three hundred sixty-five days after her arrest, government prosecutors just recently amended their charge against the lady senator from “illegal drug trading” to “conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading,” meaning, she was detained for the wrong accusation. This is a violation of her constitutional right and the “grossest injustice” as described by Justice Antonio Carpio.
Three hundred sixty-five days and counting but De Lima’s vindication will come in the same way that justice will come for the families and victims of thousands killed in this administration’s bloody and shady war on drugs. The Free Leila Movement challenges every Filipino to actively seek this justice.
REGINA MABALATAN, convenor, Free Leila Movement
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