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De Lima accuser backtracks, calls on courts to conduct fair trial

A FORMER official of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) has called for a fair trial on the remaining illegal drug cases against detained former Senator Leila M. De Lima, who has been imprisoned since 2017. 

Former PCSO board member Sandra M. Cam had accused Ms. De Lima of being involved in the illegal drug trade during her term as Justice secretary.  

“I had the realization that I was used as a tool for the imprisonment of Senator Leila De Lima,” the ex-PCSO official told a press conference in mixed Filipino and English, based on a video posted by DZRH radio on Twitter.  

“I have asked for her forgiveness and I have expressed my regret for my mistake.”  

The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 42 on Monday cleared Ms. Cam and her son Marco Martin Cam of murder charges over the 2019 killing of Batuan, Masbate town Vice Mayor Charlie Yuson III, who was shot dead by unidentified individuals outside a house in Manila.  

Four witnesses have earlier taken back their allegations against Ms. De Lima’s involvement in the illegal drug trade.  

The former lawmaker, one of ex-President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s fiercest critics, has asserted her innocence saying she was being tried for criticizing the government’s deadly drug war.  

Last week, Human Rights Watch cited Ms. De Lima’s imprisonment as a sign of the prevalent human rights abuses in the country. It urged the Marcos government to drop what it called trumped-up charges against her. — John Victor D. Ordoñez 

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