Palace downplays De Lima's "Prize for Freedom" award
Malacanang downplayed on Sunday the Prize for Freedom award given to detained opposition Senator Leila de Lima by London-based Liberal International.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the LI counts among its members in Asia the Liberal Party of the Philippines.
De Lima belongs to LP.
"While we are certain that it is an honor for the lady senator to receive such an award from her party and ideological allies, we believe that the award she received cannot distract our people from the real issue," Roque said.
He reiterated that De Lima "is no prisoner of conscience."
She said that a case has already been filed against De Lima before a local court and "as a respect to her right to due process, all legal processes are proceeding accordingly."
De Lima, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, particularly on his bloody war against illegal drugs, has been charged for her alleged involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison when she was still the secretary of Justice during the previous administration.
She denied the allegation, saying she has been a victim of political persecution by the Duterte government.
De Lima's family members, on her behalf, received the award from the LI during the awarding ceremony held recently in Quezon City.
LI has said that De Lima was a vocal critic of Duterte's war on drugs and a "prisoner of conscience."
It has campaigned for De Lima's release from detention and brought the case to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Next to late President Corazon Aquino, De Lima was the second Filipino to receive LI's Human Rights Prize. Celerina Monte/DMS