Leila Norma Eulalia Josefa Magistrado de Lima was born on August 27, 1959 in Iriga City, Camarines Sur.
Leila is the eldest daughter of the late Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Vicente B. de Lima and Norma E. Magistrado.
She has two sons, Israel and Vincent Joshua, and two grandchildren, Brandon and Hannah.
Like her late father, Leila pursued a law career and later, public service, upholding the values of integrity, honesty and competence that were instilled in her.
Graduated class salutatorian and was a Code of Kalantiaw awardee for her Law degree in San Beda College, Manila where she served editor-in-chief of San Beda Law Journal and associate editor of The Barrister.
A recipient of Dean’s Medal Award in A.B. History-Political Science in De La Salle University, Manila.
Graduated class valedictorian in high school from La Consolacion Academy, now La Consolacion College, along with several awards, including the Gerry Roxas Leadership Award.
Graduated class valedictorian in elementary from La Consolacion Academy.
De Lima was elected Senator on her first electoral run.
She previously chaired the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights and Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation.
She is currently the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development.
De Lima delivered two privilege speeches on the Senate floor calling for an end to the spate of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) committed under President Duterte’s so-called “war on drugs”.
The investigation into the EJKs that she initially announced in August 2016 was prematurely terminated by the President’s allies in the Senate. In further attempt to silence De Lima, what soon followed was her politically-motivated arrest on 24 February 2017. She remains unjustly detained to this day.
Even from behind bars, De Lima continues to speak out on major issues and against the injustices and abuses of the Duterte regime by issuing handwritten dispatches and filing resolutions.
Among the bills authored by De Lima advocating human rights and social justice, four have already been enacted into law are the Magna Carta of the Poor, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Act, the National Senior Citizen Commission, and the Community-Based Monitoring System Act.
In the previous 17th Congress, De Lima principally authored 96 bills and co-authored 57 measures. Of this, a total of 23 bills were signed into law. She has also principally authored 134 resolutions and co-authored 27 resolutions. Of this, 116 bills and 138 resolutions were filed while in detention.
Served as Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ), resolving renowned cases, including the prosecution of several prominent figures linked in the misuse of development funds, the electoral sabotage case versus former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo which led to her arrest, the dangerous raids of the prison cells for maximum security inmates, subsequently exposing and ending their luxurious lifestyle, and the overseeing of the Maguidanao massacre case.
It was also under her watch as head of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) that the Philippines was removed from the US Human Trafficking Watchlist, paving the way for its long-hoped-for upgrade to Tier 1 status.
Appointed as Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) where she energized the country’s premier human rights body in addressing cases of human rights violations, such as the extrajudicial killings attributed to the Davao Death Squad (DDS) in Davao City under then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who has reported links to the vigilante group.
Worked in various prestigious law firms. A junior partner in the Roco Buñag Kapunan & Migallos Law Offices. Later, a founding and senior partner of the De Lima Law Firm specializing in election laws.
Worked as the Secretary of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.
Law professor in San Beda College of Law and taught the following subjects: Election Law, Business Organizations, Persons and Family Relations, Transportation Law, Statutory Construction.
Worked as legal staff for Supreme Court Associate Justice Isagani A. Cruz.
As Senator, De Lima received the following awards and citations:
Named as one of the “Women Sheroes” of 2018 by RINJ Foundation.
Liberal International conferred De Lima the “Prize for Freedom”.
Amnesty International, in its first-ever “Ignite Awards for Human Rights”, awarded De Lima as the “Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender” for 2018.
The Diplomat listed De Lima first among its “ASEAN’s Women to Watch” with the header “Locked Up But Not Silenced in the Philippines”.
Listed first among the five “Power Women of Southeast Asia” compiled by the Asian Correspondent.
Topped the Asian Correspondent’s list of five prominent and politically persecuted leaders in Southeast Asia for defying the norm and defending human rights.
Liberal International announced that it has conferred on De Lima the prestigious “Prize for Freedom” Award.
De Lima is only the second Filipino to receive this highest human rights prize from Liberal International, after the late President Corazon Aquino in 1987.
Amnesty International cited De Lima as one of the notable “Women Human Rights Defenders Under Threat”.
TIME Magazine included De Lima among its list of 100 Most Influential People in 2017, specifically, in the Icons category for “speaking truth to power”.
Amnesty International recognized De Lima as a “prisoner of conscience, deprived of liberty solely for her political beliefs and for peacefully defending human rights.
As one of the keynote speakers, De Lima delivered her speech at the Annual Conference on Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin, Germany.
Foreign Policy included De Lima among its list of Leading Global Thinkers for 2016 “for standing up to an extremist leader”.
As DOJ Secretary, De Lima received the following awards and citations:
The Gawad Kamalayan (Most Outstanding Kabataan Barangay Alumni) was given to De Lima by the Quezon City Kabataan Barangay Alumni Association, Inc.
The “Gawad Kadakilaan Para sa Paglilingkod sa Bayan” was awarded to De Lima by the Youthlead Philippines.
De Lima received the Federation of the Philippine Industries Bayabay Award.
Recognized as the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Filipino of The Year 2014, as one of the “Three Furies”, the moniker given to her group of female officials fearlessly fighting corruption in government.
The Madame Helen D. de Los Santos Memorial Medallion of Honor and Scroll of Commendation was given to De Lima by the University of Manila.
For two years in a row, De Lima has received the “Outstanding Bedan Law Alumni” Award from the San Beda Law Alumni Association, Inc.
The 2011 Rokyaw Ibalnong Bikol Achievement Awardee in the Field of Government Service was given to De Lima by Rokyaw Ibalnong.
Given the Gawad Justice Felix Alumni Association for the Prosecution Pillar of the Criminal Justice System by the Philippine College of Criminology Alumni Association.
The Faithful Heroes Shining Times, Inc. honored De Lima with the 2nd “Orgullo Kan Bicol” Awards for Government Service.
Received the “Outstanding Bedan Law Alumni” Award from the San Beda Law Alumni Association, Inc.
As CHR Chairperson, De Lima received the following awards and citations:
The Gabriela Partylist, in commemoration of the Centennial Anniversary of the International Women’s Day, named De Lima a “Gawad Lingkod Masa” Awardee.
Was one of the “Agents of Change” Awardee by the Akbayan Partylist, cited as an “Excellent Public Servant and Defender of People’s Rights”.
Recognized as GMA News TV’s “Public Servant of the Year”.
The Young Women’s Christian Association of Quezon City, during its 38th Founding Anniversary Celebration, honored De Lima with the “2009 Philippine Quality Service Award of Excellence”.
The City Government of Iriga bestowed upon De Lima the “Sumagang Award for Outstanding Achievements in Government Service”.
As one of 12 women leaders cited for breakthrough experiences in participatory good governance and politics, De Lima was hailed as “the true and fearless human rights defender” in the 3rd Bayi citation.
The “Raul S. Roco Award for Public Service Excellence” was given to De Lima by the San Beda College Alumni Association, Inc. and San Beda College Alumni Foundation, Inc., during the Annual Red and White Ball.
Received the “Urban Poor Person of the Year Award” from the Urban Poor Alliance, Community Organization of the Philippines Enterprise, Inc., Urban Poor Associates, Community Organizers Multiversity and Partnership of Philippine Support Agency.
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