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Umaasa sa US? De Lima hopes to be free by Christmas 2020

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With United States President Donald Trump recently signing a law containing a provision that will ban her jailers from setting foot in US, Senator Leila De Lima hopes this Christmas will be the last she will spend behind bars.

Related story:‘Di na makaka-biyahe sa US! Trump OKs ban on De Lima’s jailers

De Lima expressed hope she will be freed soon in a statement released on Christmas Day Wednesday (December 25).

“I hope that this is my last Christmas in detention so that my normal life as a mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and as a duly-elected Senator be now restored,” she said.

“I’m raring to work fully and assiduously as a fiscalazing minority senator and focus on my chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development,” the senator added.

A fierce critic of the administration and President Rodrigo Duterte, De Lima has been in jail since February 2017 on drug charges.

She has dismissed the cases she is facing as political persecution.

The clause on banning Philippine officials is included in the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Bill 2020, which Trump signed as part of the US government’s $1.4-trillion budget.

The bill allows US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “apply sub-section (c) to foreign government officials about whom the Secretary has credible information have been involved in the wrongful imprisonment of… Senator Leila De Lima who was arrested in the Philippines in 2017.”

Sub-section (c) refers to the Global Magnitsy Human Rights Accountability Act, a US law which allows the American government to ban suspected human rights violators from entering the US, as well as freeze their assets.

De Lima celebrated Christmas Day with family, some close friends and staff members by hearing a Mass and sharing a simple lunch inside the Custodial Center of the Philippine National Police, in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

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