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Leila de Lima Granted Bail After Six Years in Jail

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MANILA, Philippines – After an arduous period of six years and nine months in detention, equivalent to 2,424 days, former Philippine Senator Leila de Lima was granted bail on Monday, November 13, 2023. De Lima, a vocal critic of former President Rodrigo Duterte’s infamous “war on drugs,” was released from the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial facility after posting a ₱300,000 bail for her remaining drug case.

A Symbol of Resistance and Triumph

De Lima’s release marks a significant victory for her supporters and human rights advocates, who have long contended that her incarceration was a case of political persecution. The charges against her, related to illegal drug trafficking, were widely seen as politically motivated, especially since several witnesses recanted their testimonies.

Upon her release, De Lima expressed her relief and unbroken spirit, stating, “I’m so happy and relieved to finally be free. I never lost faith that I would be exonerated, but it’s been a very long and difficult journey.” Her relentless pursuit of justice and vocal criticism of Duterte’s policies had led to her arrest in February 2017.

A Message to Duterte and the Future

When asked about her message for former President Duterte, De Lima responded with a firm tone, “There will be a day of reckoning, Mr. President.” This statement reflects her resilience and continued commitment to seeking justice.

The Path Ahead

The release of De Lima is also indicative of a broader shift in the Philippine political landscape. With President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration emphasizing human rights and the rule of law, her release is viewed as a step towards rectifying past abuses. Phil Robertson, Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch Asia, remarked, “This is a positive development for the Philippines. It shows that the new administration is taking steps to address the abuses of the past.”

The Journey of Resilience

Despite her release, De Lima’s legal battles are not yet over as she still faces the possibility of life imprisonment if convicted of drug trafficking. Nevertheless, her release on bail after nearly seven years in detention is a moment of triumph and a testament to her steadfastness in the face of adversity.

Leila de Lima’s release from detention is not only a personal victory but also a significant moment in Philippine history. It symbolizes a hopeful turn away from the turbulent times under Duterte’s rule and a reaffirmation of the power of resilience and justice. As De Lima steps back into freedom, her story continues to inspire and remind us of the enduring strength of the human spirit in the quest for truth and justice.

Courtesy: Rappler

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