Manila, November 13
A Philippine court on Monday ordered the release on bail of a former senator jailed more than six years ago on drug charges she said were fabricated to muzzle her investigation of then-President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal crackdown on illegal drugs. Two other non-bailable drug cases against her have been dismissed.
Had begun probe into his war against drugs
In 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte won the presidency by a wide margin and Leila de Lima was elected to the Senate. She pursued an investigation into his campaign against illegal drugs. However, authorities framed cases against her and placed her under arrest.
The European Union Parliament, some American lawmakers and United Nations human rights experts have long demanded the release of Leila de Lima, who was detained as an opposition senator in February 2017 in what they say was political persecution by Duterte and his allies and a major blow to Philippine democracy.
Duterte, whose stormy six-year term ended in June last year, insisted on her guilt, saying that witnesses testified that she received payoffs from imprisoned drug lords.
Regional Trial Court Judge Gener Gito reversed an earlier decision Monday and granted de Lima’s request for bail while being tried in a final drug case.
Her supporters cheered after the decision was pronounced by the court.
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