Aquino, former colleagues laud De Lima on ‘Dispatches from Crame I’


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Former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and other prominent personalities have expressed their admiration and conveyed their solidarity for Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima in her first electronic book entitled “Dispatches from Crame I.”

In the book, which is currently on its special reprint, Aquino lauded De Lima’s leadership as he urged the Filipino people to continue supporting the Senator’s worthy causes.

“Nung lumalaki ako, binigyang-diin sa akin na, ang pinuno dapat may klarong paninindigan. May direksyong patutunguhan. Kaya madali at buo natin siyang masusundan. Mahirap magkaroon ng pinuno na ang posisyon ay papalit-palit sa magkabilang-dulo

“Makikita naman natin: Si Leila, klarong-klarong may prinsipyo. Sa pinagdadaanan niya, malinaw na tayo ang kanyang ipinaglalaban. Mainam namang maipadama natin kay Leila, na sa labang ito, hindi siya nag-iisa,” he said.

“Dispatches from Crame I” contains a selection of De Lima’s handwritten statements from her detention at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center, in Camp Crame, Quezon City on topics such as personal, governance and social justice.

Some of the notable dispatches included in the e-book, were “Dear loved ones,” “Dear dad,” “I’m not the only one suffering, fighting,” “and “Woman-bashing in Congress.”

De Lima’s former colleagues in the Aquino Cabinet, including former presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and former deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, commended De Lima’s courage to relentlessly speak out against state-led abuses and express dissent no matter the cause.

“Senator De Lima is true courage exemplified: continuing to speak the bitter truth to power, despite being unjustly deprived of her liberty,” said Valte, who also expressed confidence that the former justice secretary will be “vindicated” in time.

For Lacierda, De Lima’s regular dispatches from Crame– which show her views and stands on social, economic and political issues, including her reflections about the political persecution in the hands of the Duterte administration– continue to be a source of inspiration and admiration for the public.

“Despite the trumped-up charges and a system undermined by fascism and fear, Leila has stood as a beacon of light and a tower of fortitude to those who seemed to have lost hope in this present darkness�” Lacierda noted.

Deputy Asia Director of Human Rights Watch Phelime Kine, on his part, commended how De Lima’s detention did not prevent her “fearless advocacy for rule of law and human rights” from inspiring the local and international communities alike.

“Her voice echoes far beyond her prison walls and is an inspiration to those both in the Philippines and beyond who seek accountability for the thousands of deaths linked to the Duterte government’s murderous ‘war on drugs,” Kine said.

Meanwhile, former civil service chairperson Karina Constantino David pointed out that De Lima’s dispatches “are testimonies to the greatness of spirit and the depth of insight of Sen. Leila de Lima.”

If anything, former Senator Rene Saguisag said that De Lima’s “many-splendored” articles on “Dispatches from Crame I” should serve as a reminder that “not everyone is cowed by tyranny.”

The book also carries words of admiration for De Lima from former Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Etta Rosales, independent curator and social critic Marian Pastor Roces, editor and columnist for The Philippine Daily Inquirer John Nery, journalist Vergel Santos, blogger and author of The De Lima Demeanor Wilfredo Villanueva, and bloggers Candy Cruz Datu of Cham Clowder and Joe America of The Society of Honor.

Written over a period of one year since De Lima was unjustly detained, “Dispatches from Crame” carries foreword by Dr. Sylvia “Guy” E. Claudio, a doctor of medicine who also holds a PhD in Psychology.

In her foreword, Claudio described the book as “dangerous,” not just for De Lima’s captors but also for those who still choose to turn a blind eye on the human rights abuses perpetrated by the present administration.

“It is dangerous because if you dare to read through the pages, you may find that the Senator is no monster. That she is a human being with equal nationalism, equal love for the poor, equal rights to fairness and justice. You may realize that she is not the monster they have painted.

“In which case, she may be innocent as she explains so eloquently here, as she has always proclaimed herself to be. At the very least, you may agree with her as all human rights institutions, foreign and local, have agreed so far, that her rights are being violated. The choice is yours…” Claudio wrote. “Dispatches from Crame I” was launched at the Bulwagang Ka Pepe (Ka Pepe Hall) at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), in Quezon City last Feb. 23.

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