Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Wednesday urged his colleagues to “right the wrong” committed by the Duterte administration against Senator Leila de Lima by calling for her release from detention.
In a privilege speech, Trillanes said De Lima’s continued detention over drug-related charges is a “clear case of political persecution.”
“Gaya nating lahat, hindi perpekto si Sen. De Lima pero alam natin, deep in our hearts, na hindi siya involved sa illegal drugs at lalo nang hindi siya drug queen. Hindi po siya criminal para tratuhin na parang isang criminal,” Trillanes said.
“Pinaratangan lang siya. There was no overt action done at all to merit her incarceration,” he said.
Trillanes said the Senate should express the same outrage it did in the case of Superintendent Marvin Marcos, who was able to walk out of detention after the criminal charges against him and the other policemen were downgraded.
“By any established standard, that is injustice. Kaya ang aking apela sa aking mga kasamahan dito sa Senado, panahon na para ituwid natin ang malaking pagkakamaling ito at sumama sa aking panawagan na palayain si Sen. Leila De Lima,” he said.
Trillanes said it was “time to do the right thing.”
Trillanes also called on the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson to conduct an inquiry on the allegations of drug lords against De Lima.
Trillanes said summoning drug personalities to a Senate probe is necessary to prove that the Duterte administration coerced them to concoct stories against a political opponent.
De Lima has been detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame since February over allegations that she was involved in the illegal drug trade inside the national penitentiary.
The European Union, Inter-Parliamentary Union, and International Commission Jurists, have separately called for De Lima’s release.
In May, the senator’s office said at least five more organizations and coalitions sent separate letters expressing their support for her and her advocacies.
The groups include the International Network of People Who Use Drugs (INPUD), United Kingdom; Asia Catalyst, New York, USA; the Coalition of Asia Pacific Regional Networks on HIV/AIDS, Thailand; Asian Network of People Who Use Drugs (ANPUD), Thailand; and International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), United Kingdom.