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De Lima’s supporters call for her release a year after her imprisonment

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By Martin Sadongdong

Supporters of Senator Leila de Lima gathered today in front of the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters at Camp Crame in Quezon City as they called for the release of the detained lawmaker a year after her imprisonment.

Members of the Free Leila Movement (FLM) said they conducted a motorcade from Quirino Grandstand to the Gate 2 of the PNP headquarters bringing 365 roses to De Lima, one each for the days she was “illegally arrested” since February 24, 2017. She was detained at the PNP custodial center due to her alleged involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs at the National Bilibid Prison (NBP).

Senator Leila de Lima (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco / MANILA BULLETIN)

Senator Leila de Lima (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco / MANILA BULLETIN)

According to Regina Mabalatan, a member of the FLM, she admires the “bravery” of De Lima in voicing out and fighting against the “injustices” being committed under the Duterte regime, including alleged extrajudicial killings (EJKs), martial law in Mindanao, and many others.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the LFM said De Lima remains “unbowed and uncowed” despite being detained for one year based on “trumped-up charges.”

“Nearing her one year in illegal detention based solely on trumped-up charges and perjured testimonies from convicted drug lords, let us remember day by day how [Senator De Lima] faced her enemies without fear and petty alibis,” the LFM said.

“She remains strong and firm to her principles and dedicated to her work as a legislator filing bills and resolutions for the betterment of her countrymen,” it added.

A holy mass presided by Archbishop Socrates Villegas was celebrated inside the PNP custodial center and attended by De Lima’s relatives, close friends, former government officials and Liberal Party allies including former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, senators Franklin Drilon, Mar Roxas and Bam Aquino, Representative Teddy Baguilat, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, former Department of Social Welfare and Development secretary Dinky Soliman, ex-Office of the Presidential Peace Adviser on the Peace Process secretary Ging Deles, human rights lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno and actress Agot Isidro.

Members of the media were later barred from covering the arrival of the visitors of De Lima.

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