Press Release
November 4, 2019

De Lima grateful to Carpio for standing by her and calling for her freedom

Senator Leila M. de Lima is grateful that retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio added his credible voice to the mounting calls for her release from detention based on trumped-up charges filed against her.

De Lima, who is considered as the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, expressed her gratitude to Carpio for publicly reiterating his position on the unjustness of her detention.

"Mr. Duterte and his lackeys may be successful in keeping me unjustly detained, but they failed to destroy how credible and respected personalities like Justice Carpio - who has unfailingly upheld judicial independence in his years in Supreme Court - view my unjust detention," she said.

"I am grateful for Justice Carpio's firm stand against the injustice done to me, a manifestation of his belief in my innocence. Indeed, no amount of lies from a tyrant can erase the truth and stop it from prevailing," she added.

In a recent media interview, Carpio reiterated his call for De Lima's immediate release by recalling his dissenting opinion on the Supreme Court's decision not to nullify the Senator's illegal arrest in Feb. 24, 2017.

"As I wrote in my dissent, that she (De Lima) should be released because the cases against her have no leg to stand on," Carpio said.

Carpio, whom many regarded as "the best chief justice we never had," has called the former justice secretary's continued detention as "one of the grossest injustices ever perpetrated in recent memory in full view of the Filipino nation and the entire world."

"The accusation of illegal trade of drugs against [De Lima] is blatantly a pure invention. This Court, the last bulwark of democracy and liberty in the land, should never countenance such a fake charge," he wrote in his dissenting opinion in the October 2017 SC ruling which upheld De Lima's arrest warrant issued by a Muntinlupa court.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said she believes that Carpio will not waver in calling out the injustices under this present administration and fighting in the side of truth even after retirement.

"Because that is who he is - a defender of truth, justice and the rule of law," said the lady Senator from Bicol.

Both De Lima and Carpio were part of the Philippine legal team that won in the country's claim against China over the South China Sea (SCS) territories in 2016.

De Lima said she is confident that Carpio's retirement "will not stop him from joining the many patriots in this country in fighting for the Philippines' rightful claim over the WPS."

Carpio retired from the Supreme Court on his 70th birthday last Oct. 26 after 18 years of service. It was the mandatory retirement age for members of the judiciary.

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