From the Philippines

Philippine court denies bail for top Duterte critic in drug case

Philippine court denies bail for top Duterte critic in drug case
Former senator Leila De Lima reacts following her acquittal in one of the cases against her as she is escorted out of a judicial court in Muntinlupa city, Metro Manila, Philippines, 12 May 2023. A court handed out a not guilty verdict in one of three cases filed against former senator Leila De Lima, a staunch critic of former president Rodrigo Duterte. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

A Philippine court on Wednesday rejected a bail request from Leila de Lima, a former senator and staunch critic of then President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, prolonging six years of detention on charges she denies.

“Sad to inform you that the court denied Senator Leila’s bail application,” Filibon Tacardon, her legal counsel, told reporters.

De Lima, 63, had requested bail in connection with a case in which she has been accused of conspiring to illegally trade narcotics in prison.

She has denied all charges and had sought bail on account of her age and “several health issues”.

The court said her request was “untenable” and her culpability or innocence would be decided on the basis of evidence presented.

Duterte was president from 2016 to 2022. He waged an anti-narcotics campaign in which thousands of drug users and dealers were killed, many by police or in mysterious circumstances.

De Lima launched an investigation into the bloody campaign in 2017, calling on the president to order police to stop killing.

She was arrested a few months later and has been in police detention ever since.

A court in 2021 dismissed a drug case against her while another court in May acquitted her of a charge that she received drug money from prison inmates.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor, Robert Birsel)


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