The Philippine National Police (PNP) prevented a U.S. delegation led by U.S. Senator Edward Markey from visiting former Senator Leila De Lima at the detention center Camp Crame in Quezon City on August 18, 2022. The reason was an alleged lack of permits as well as the prevailing COVID-19 situation inside the prison. However, the following day, two courts in Muntinlupa granted De Lima’s request for the visit. The eight members of the US-Delegation were able to visit the former Senator on the same day. According to the order issued by Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204, De Lima had already filed a visit request with police chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin on August 10, 2022.
De Lima has been detained for alleged drug-related accusations since 2017. The direct and indirect bribery allegations against the former senator and her former bodyguard Ronnie Dayan were dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman on August 9, 2022. The statement said that the testimonies of Kerwin Espinosa and Marcelo Adorco are contradictory regarding the way De Lima supposedly received the alleged bribes.
In April 2022, Espinosa withdrew his statement that De Lima received 8 million pesos in bribes from the self-proclaimed drug lord to remain silent and protect his illegal drug business.
Several members of the House of Representatives, including key members of the opposition bloc, stated after the withdrawal of the two testimonies that De Lima is illegally detained. They were calling on the Department of Justice to drop the charges and release De Lima.
Photo © Raffy Lerma