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Lacson hits calls by foreign groups to release De Lima

By: Mario Casayuran

Sen.Panfilo M. Lacson described yesterday as ‘’uncalled for’’ calls by foreign organizations for the immediate release of detained Sen. Lelia de Lima from the Philippine National Police (PNP) detention center in Quezon city.

‘’They have no business in arrogantly asking our President (Duterte) to release Sen. de Lima,’’ Lacson said as foreign organizations continue to press for the release of de Lima for alleged links to illegal drugs operations in the country.

The Wednesday, leaders of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) visited de Lima to check on her condition as a ‘’prisoner of c0nscience.’’

On whether the Senate in caucus takes up calls for the release of the lady senator, Lacson said: ‘’No way. We should all understand and respect our criminal justice system. The Senate cannot and will not interfere with the courts that have jurisdiction over Senator de Lima’s drug cases.’’

‘’Having said that, the judiciary is independent of the executive and legislative branches. The same goes true and even worse, in the case of foreign organizations and groups that sre calling for her immediate release,’’ Lacson added.

De Lima, in a statement, said that despite the relentless attacks and outright lies thrown against her ‘’to destroy my dignity and womanhood, I am grateful that many people have expressed and continued to vouch for my integrity.’’

The CALD leaders who visited de Lima at the PNP detention center are the current chairman Jayanthi Balaguru (Malaysia); Emily Lau, former chairwoman of the Hongkong Democratic Party and vice president of the International Network of Liberal Women (INLW); and Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD) Maysing Yang.

‘’I am very grateful for their very warm and gracious words of encouragement and support. I do not know them personally, and though it was our first time to meet, I easily felt from our discussion that we are kindred spirits—women who uphold human rights and value democratic principles,’’ de Lima said.