She may have turned a year older last Aug. 27, but Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has maintained that her age only further bolstered her courage and determination to fight the human rights abuses under the Duterte regime.
“I am not fighting for myself, I am fighting for my children’s future, and my children’s children’s future. I am fighting for the future of the Filipino people,” said De Lima, who is now officially a senior citizen after turning 60 on her birthday.
She clarified that her fight for human rights and freedom is not an attempt to win a popularity contest, but she has decided to take on the enormous and tough challenge for the sake of every Filipino, including her loved ones, and for the future generations.
“I am planting a seed that I hope will grow and become a strong tree that will give shelter and protection to our future generations,” she added.
She may not be rewarded immediately for her sacrifices in fighting for human rights, but the lady Senator from Bicol said she believes “that my vindication will come for I am on the right side of humanity.”
Even in detention, De Lima said she remains as the staunchest critic of the Duterte regime as she continues to speak out against the government’s bogus but brutal war against illegal drugs and rampant human rights abuses.
Considered by many as a prisoner of conscience, the former justice secretary has committed to continue her battle against the Duterte regime’s crooked ways until justice is served to the victims of extrajudicial killings and other state-led abuses.
“Hindi tayo titigil sa pagsasalita at paglaban hanggang hindi nabibigyan ng katarungan ang libu-libong napaslang sa pekeng kampanya ng pamahalaan kontra droga,” said De Lima, a human rights and social justice champion.
De Lima celebrated her third straight birthday inside the PNP-Custodial Center in Camp Crame last Aug. 27 in a very simple gathering that is marked by a Holy Mass and attended by family members, close friends, supporters and staff members.
She also shared her three wishes for her 60th birthday. She expressed her desire for her 86-year-old ailing mother to grow stronger and fully recover so she can see the day when her daughter is vindicated.
She also wished that fellow defenders of human rights and democracy will not be disheartened amid threat, and for the Filipinos to be enlightened about the abuses of the president administration.
“We’re being overrun by foreign interests. We are being enslaved and our interests go unheeded in our own land. I wish for our people to see that, while there is still time to stop it,” De Lima said.