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NewsDe Lima thanks European Parliament for continued solidarity with her

De Lima thanks European Parliament for continued solidarity with her

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PHILIPPINES, February 22 – Press Release February 21, 2022

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima thanked the European Parliament (EP) for renewing its call for the Philippine government to end her political harassment and immediately and unconditionally release her from unjust detention.

De Lima, who will mark her 5th year in unjust detention on Feb. 24, said the support she receives from EP and other justice and freedom-loving groups and organizations here and abroad continue to strengthen her resolve.

“The European Parliament was one of the first international organizations who stood by me after seeing the fakeness and baselessness of the charges being filed against me by Duterte regime.

“Five years later, they are still by my side as we wait for justice to be upheld by the courts. Thank you, EU, for your constant support and solidarity. With the continuous backing of organizations like yours, I will continue to fight and fight more!” said De Lima in her statement posted on Twitter.

The European Parliament issued a resolution last Feb. 17 condemning, among others, De Lima’s continued unjust detention and other human rights abuses in the country. The text was adopted by 627 votes in favor.

EP said Philippine authorities should “end the political harassment of Senator Leila De Lima, to order her immediate and unconditional release, and to prosecute in fair trials those found to be responsible for her arbitrary detention and other human rights violations committed against her, such as gender-based attacks and violations of her right to due process.”

The Parliament also called on the European Union to closely monitor the development of the remaining trumped-up cases against De Lima, which affect her bid for reelection for the upcoming national elections.

“Senator De Lima, who has announced her intention to run again for the Senate, will not have the same rights and opportunities to run her electoral campaign as other candidates,” part of the Resolution read.

Likewise, in a speech at the EP Plenary last Feb. 17, Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli commended De Lima’s courage and maintained that her rights to due process must be respected.

“Finally, next week marks the fifth anniversary of the imprisonment of Senator De Lima. She will have spent five years in pre-trial detention yet is standing again in the country’s general election. As former President Benigno Aquino has said, ‘If injustice could be done to Leila, a sitting Senator, injustice could be done to anyone,’ she said.

De Lima said the continued solidarity she receives from the international community, like EP, is a testament that the the world is watching closely the injustices perpetrated by the current regime.

“European Parliament’s continued solidarity, along with other parliaments and international organizations, is solid proof that the world keeps its eyes on what’s happening here.

“I thank all of them in consistently taking time to check on the human rights developments in our country and call out the Duterte regime’s unjust policies such as the murderous “War on Drugs”, red-tagging of activists, journalists and other citizens who lend their voice and hands to help the marginalized sectors,” she said.

“And as I said before, with the whole world watching, and more and more people gaining discernment about Duterte regime’s continued political persecution against me and other critics, my tormentors must realize that locking me up in jail and stripping me of my rights and freedom is a huge mistake,” she added.

Last year, the EP also adopted a resolution calling, among others, for action on the deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines under the present administration and for De Lima’s immediate release from unjust detention.

In March 2017 and April 2018, the EP also adopted resolutions on the human rights situation in the Philippines, highlighting the political persecution De Lima is subjected to under the Duterte regime.

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