A group of Franciscan nuns in the Philippines called for the immediate release of a senator who has been jailed for alleged links to the illegal drugs trade in the country
“The continuing vendetta against Senator de Lima has tested her will and endurance and she has offered whatever fate awaits her in the hands of our loving and merciful Lord,” read a statement from the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Mother of God.
De Lima was accused of demanding money for her 2016 senatorial bid from a high-profile prisoner when she was justice secretary.
On Feb. 17, 2017, the Justice department filed three criminal complaints — one conspiracy and two related to drugs — against De Lima.
The drug accusations stemmed from an inquiry at the Lower House of Congress, where high-level inmates alleged that the senator facilitated the drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison.
“To date no damning evidence has been found to link her to the drug trade. And yet she remains in prison,” read a statement from the nuns.
“We believe in her innocence and her unjust and prolonged detention is nothing more than a marked display of power and deceit,” they added.
In June this year, De Lima filed for bail, saying the government has not produced enough evidence against her.
In a 44-page motion, the senator sought for bail before the court over her alleged violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act on conspiracy, which she said was based on hearsay.
The offense is non-bailable, but De Lima applied for bail “because the evidence (against her) is insufficient” in this case, said her counsel.
De Lima said in her motion that she should be granted on the grounds that there is no evidence of conspiracy, strong evidence of her innocence, failure to prove illegal drug trade links, questionable value of testimonies, and that is she not a flight risk.
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