U.S. senators call charges against Leila de Lima ‘politically motivated’: Release her now

Top, from left: Senators Patrick Leahy, Chris Coons, Marsha Blackburn
Bottom: Senators Marco Rubio, Ed Markey and Dick Durbin

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, led by Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Ed Markey,  called for the “immediate release” of Senator Leila de Lima who has been in jail for five years following bogus drug charges against her by the government of Rodrigo Duterte.

They were joined by senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).  after two Philippine government witnesses have come forward recanting their statements.

“The recent recanting by key witnesses of allegations made against Senator Leila De Lima warrant her immediate release,” said the U.S. senators in their statement dated May 3. “Clearly, the bogus charges against her were, as we suspected all along, politically-motivated and based on false information.”

The statement adds, “That she has lost five years in jail due to these spurious charges is a travesty. She should be released immediately and any remaining charges should be dropped without further delay.” 

Markey from Massachusetts is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations East Asia and Pacific Subcommittee.

Re-electionist Senator De Lima: ‘Bogus, spurious’ charges

Self-confessed drug lord Roland “Kerwin” Espinosa has withdrawn his statements that were used to convict De Lima. Another witness, Rafael Ragos, a former official of the Bureau of Corrections, said he had been “coerced” into testifying against her by a Department of Justice official.

Re-electionist Senator De Lima welcomes the U.S. senators’ renewed call for her release.

“The recent development on my case, along with the unwavering trust and faith in me of prominent leaders and co-justice warriors, further bolsters my determination to fight against the lies and see this battle to end in freedom and vindication,” she said in a statement.

“After two witnesses recanted their allegations against me, it is clearer now that the charges against me are politically motivated, obviously invented by the Duterte machine of lies. I thank U.S. Senators Marco Rubio, Ed Markey, Dick Durbin, Marsha Blackburn, Chris Coons and Patrick Leahy, for acknowledging the truth and staying consistent in demanding justice for me,” she added.

De Lima was a constant critic of Duterte’s war on drugs. When she was chairperson of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, she initiated an investigation into supposed death squads within the police and military that carried out executions of suspected drug users.  The toll from those killings is said to be anywhere from 7,000 to 30,000 deaths as of 2019, according to Rappler.

The Department of Justice countered with their own shocking charges that De Lima was running a drug syndicate in prison, allegations she has fiercely denied.

In 2019, Rubio and Markey had filed a bipartisan resolution, Senate Resolution No. 142, calling for her immediate release from wrongful imprisonment and invoking Global Magnitsky sanctions against her persecutors. It was supported by Senators Durbin, Blackburn and Coons.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: