MANILA, Philippines — Early this week, key witnesses Kerwin Espinosa and Rafael Ragos retracted their statement against senator Leila de Lima. The two claimed that they were coerced to give out false statements regarding the senator.
After the revelation, six US senators issued a joint statement for de Lima’s immediate release.
US Senators Marco Rubio, Ed Markey, Dick Durbin, Marsha Blackburn, Chris Coons, and Patrick Leahy released their statement on May 3. They emphasized that the witnesses’ withdrawal of their statements are grounds for the senator’s release.
As De Lima’s known to be President Duterte’s critic, the group said that their suspicions about the charges being false and politically-motivated have been confirmed. The US senators underlined that it is “a travesty” that De Lima lost five years due to these unfounded charges. They also said that any remaining charges must be dropped without any delay.
De Lima expressed her gratitude to the senators who backed her innocence.
In her own statement, she said “The recent development on my case, along with the unwavering trust and faith in me of prominent leaders and co-justice warriors, further bolsters my determination to fight against the lies and see this battle to end in freedom and vindication.”