Former senator Leila de Lima has been acquitted of one of her two remaining drug charges on Friday, May 12.
The Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 204 cleared De Lima in the first case filed against her, where she is accused of being invilved with an illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
This means she was proven not to have violated section 5 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which penalizes the “sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of illegal drugs.”
Since another Muntinlupa court cleared her of one of three charges in 2021, the former lawmaker now only awaits one more charge to be decided by Muntinlupa City RTC Branch 256. Here, De Lima is accused of allegedly tolerating the Bilibid drug trade.
Notwithstanding, the legal development means De Lima will still remain in detention pending the said court's resolution on her petition for bail and bid for temporary freedom.
The former senator has since released a statement welcoming today's acquittal.
"I am extremely grateful to all those who stood by and prayed for me all these years. Nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat ng naniwala at sumama sa aking laban. Hindi ninyo ako iniwan. Hindi ninyo ako pinabayaan. Maraming salamat sa inyong paninindigan na balang araw ay makakamit ko ang katarungan, lalaya, at makakasama kayong muli," De Lima said.
As Commission on Human Rights chair and senator, she probed into the Davao Death Squad and former president Rodrigo Duterte's drug war.
De Lima was detained during the latter's presidential term and has remained behind bars for the past six years despite key witnesses retracting their allegations since then.