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Group urges presidential bets to ‘commit to free De Lima’

By Mavic Conde

A non-governmental organization that provides aid for the protection of people’s human rights has urged the presidential candidates to free Senator Leila de Lima from unjust detention.

“Candidates in the May 2022 national elections should commit to the immediate release of prisoner of conscience and Philippine Senator Leila de Lima, who marks her fifth year in arbitrary detention on politically motivated charges this week,” Amnesty International said in its news release.

Human Rights is an election issue and must be at the front and center of the candidates running for national posts, Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Amnesty International’s Philippines researcher said.

“The next government [must also] address the pervasive culture of impunity in the country…which was a hallmark of the Duterte administration’s so called ‘war on drugs’,” Chhoa-Howard added.

De Lima is one of the critics of extrajudicial killings under President Duterte’s rule. Prior to her detention, she launched a Senate investigation to look into its human rights violations.

“Her continued detention shows the awful lengths the Philippine government will go to silence its critics, the Amnesty International said, adding: “This situation must not be allowed to continue under the next government.”


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