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On 6th year of detention, De Lima sees vindication 'at hand'

Former Senator Leila de Lima marked her sixth year in detention on drug-related charges on Friday with a firm belief that her vindication is about to come.

"I strongly believe that my vindication is at hand," De Lima said in a statement. "But even if they continue to try to silence me, I refuse to cower."

A critic of former President Rodrigo Duterte and his war on drugs, De Lima said she believes she did the right thing in sacrificing her liberty and political career. 

“And today, after 6 years, I am still fighting for my own innocence and for justice for the victims of extrajudicial killings and the families they left behind,” she said.

“Today, more than ever, I am convinced that I did the right thing of sacrificing my personal liberty and even my political career.”

In a separate statement on Friday, De Lima acknowledged the continued solidarity and support of global institutions and foreign parliaments.

Members of the European Parliament's subcommittee on human rights visited the former senator at the PNP Custodial Center on Thursday.

De Lima said their visit has "once again buoyed my spirit, as it is yet again an affirmance of the universal acceptance of my causes."

The former senator said they had a "meaningful and impactful" discourse and exchange on issues and threats to democracy and political dynasties.

"Discussions also centered on the ICC probe. Like me and others, they find it regrettable that the current administration has opted to block rather than cooperate in such [a] probe," she said.

De Lima then thanked the European Parliament members for their time and effort in "consistently pushing" for her immediate release.

The Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 205 has junked one of the three drug cases against De Lima. The hearings for the two remaining cases are currently ongoing.

Last year, former Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos and self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, respectively, retracted their allegations against De Lima and apologized to her.

Ragos, in a recent hearing, finished his testimony on the recantation of his allegations.

Due to this, Atty. Filibon Tacardon, De Lima’s legal counsel,  said they would file a supplemental motion for bail within February.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla earlier said he personally would not object to a possible bail plea from De Lima after urging them to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

De Lima is accused of benefiting financially from the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison during her stint as Justice Secretary. She has repeatedly denied the allegation. —Joahna Lei Casilao and Richa Noriega/KBK/VBL, GMA Integrated News