De Lima to pursue counter-charges vs persecutors

MANILA. Former senator Leila de Lima holds a press conference after her release from the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame on Monday, November 13, 2023.
MANILA. Former senator Leila de Lima holds a press conference after her release from the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame on Monday, November 13, 2023.Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

FORMER senator Leila de Lima, who was released on bail over charges related to illegal drugs, said plans to file charges against her persecutors are already on the table.

In a press conference after her release from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame on Monday, November 13, 2023, De Lima said they are already discussing plans to pursue counter-charges against her persecutors but she refused to divulge specific details.

De Lima was out on jail after almost seven years of detention due to charges filed against her under the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte over her alleged involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.

A Muntinlupa court granted her bail petition for her remaining drug case.

De Lima, who is also a former justice secretary, was among those who stood against the bloody drug war of the Duterte administration.

Asked for her message to Duterte, De Lima said: “First, ‘yong message ko kay former President Duterte, well isa lang sasabihin ko. God forgive him and God bless him, ‘yon lang muna ngayon. Marami pa ‘kong puwedeng sabihin sa kanya, pero ‘wag muna.”

“I don’t want to be political-sounding tonight because this is a moment of joy. This is a triumphant moment for me. So as much as possible, I want to be gracious. And so ‘yun na lang muna. God forgive him, and God bless him. He knows what he did to me. I suppose,” she added.

De Lima said the time she spent behind bars was both a “curse” and a “blessing.” Curse because she said she does not deserve it and a blessing because she said she learned a lot of things especially in strengthening her faith.

“Yes, I wished things turned out differently, but these are things that were beyond my control. But for the things that I did, how I reacted and my reasons for fighting for those who were victimized and cannot speak for themselves, I have no regret,” De Lima said.

“It destroyed my life. It is time for me to rebuild my life now. They destroyed and ruined my name, my reputation. Now that I’m free, I’m going to work hard to redeem my name, and vindication, complete vindication, is the key,” she added.

De Lima said she will continue to work for her complete vindication.

She said the first thing she would do is to visit and spend time with her ailing mother who is in Bicol and the rest of her family. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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