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De Lima to Remulla: I will gain my freedom on merits, not humanitarian grounds

Former Senator Leila de Lima on Friday insisted that she would fight for her freedom by arguing against the “fabricated” cases filed against her by the Department of Justice in court.

The former lawmaker released a dispatch on Friday in reaction to Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla’s statement that he was open to de Lima’s application for bail if it is based on humanitarian grounds and not on the merits of the drug cases against her.

“I will gain my freedom on the merits, because the DOJ has no case against me from the very beginning,” said De Lima.

Although she was grateful for Remulla’s concern, especially after she was taken hostage in her cell at the Philippine National Police custodial center, de Lima said she “cannot thank him as the head of the agency that is primarily responsible for the fabrication of the charges” against her.

De Lima emphasized that the charges filed against her during President Rodrigo Duterte's administration are “maintained, to date.”

“Justice and freedom for me are long overdue,” she ended.

In an interview on Thursday, Remulla said the DOJ would support De Lima's bail based on humanitarian grounds not on the merits or demerits of the cases.

“Bail as a matter of humanitarian ground as a humanitarian gesture is what we support here in the DOJ, not on the merits or demerits of the cases because six years is a long time to be detained while undergoing trial,” said Remulla.

“I think it is very clear we want to give her a fair shake no matter what and maybe a respite from detention, but her lawyers think otherwise. And that they should take advantage of this opportunity to say she’s innocent and that’s why she should be granted bail. Malayo ho yan. Two big things that are far apart from each other,” he explained.

Earlier this week, De Lima’s lawyer said one of the remaining drug cases against the former senator had been submitted for decision while their petition for bail over the other case at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 256 is still pending.

In February 2021, the Muntinlupa City RTC Branch 205 junked one of the three drug cases against De Lima.

De Lima was 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.

The former senator marked her sixth year in detention in February 2023. — DVM, GMA Integrated News