Senator Leila M. de Lima has commemorated the 5th death anniversary of her father, the late Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Vicente de Lima, in a simple celebration attended by families, friends and associates last July 30.
Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio “Ambo” David officiated the Thanksgiving Mass, along with Fathers Albert Alejo, Manny Seranilla, and Robert Reyes, inside the Custodial Center of the Philippine National Police, in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
In his homily, Bishop David shared about how God was pleased with King Solomon’s wish that instead of asking for long life, riches or the life of his enemies, he asked to be granted wisdom, to have the capacity for discernment and good judgment.
“In this world, there is a spiritual battle all the time,” he said, stressing that it is important to have wisdom to discern between what is good and what is evil.
After the Mass, De Lima expressed her profound gratitude to all those who celebrated the Holy Mass with her and her family on the occasion of her father’s 5th death anniversary.
“The No. 5 is significant to us. It’s in our surname,” De Lima said as she explained why she would always present her open palm to the crowd with her five fingers extended whenever she would appear in public.
“The 5th commandment is ‘Thou shall not kill.’ It’s also a stop signal. Stop the killings. Stop the lies,” she added.
Incidentally, it is also the fifth month of Senator De Lima in detention as the first prominent political prisoner over trumped-up drug charges the government has questionably hurled against her based on fake evidence and perjured testimonies.
Despite the political persecution, De Lima continues to uphold and defend human rights, attributing her “stubbornness” to the teachings of her father. She recalled him saying: “Never be afraid to fight for what you believe is right.”
The Senator from Bicol said she also shares the concerns of Bishop David over the high numbers of summary executions of suspected drug offenders that are being reported almost daily in his diocese–which includes Malabon, Navotas, and South Caloocan.
She cited Al Jazeera’s news report which confirmed the information she has been receiving that some fishermen are being hired to dump dead bodies in Manila Bay in what she referred to as “Bangkay sa Bangka” modus employed by some police authorities to conceal drug killings.
De Lima has said earlier she will be filing a Senate resolution calling for an immediate investigation into this deplorable act and to put an end to these brazen killings.
“We don’t know who the killers are, but God definitely knows who they are. There will come a time that they will be held accountable, maybe not under human justice, but definitely under divine justice,” she said.
De Lima also thanked Bishop David–who has been recently elected as vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)–for heeding her request for him to celebrate Mass for her late father.
She described the Prelate as a “marvelous storyteller” in his book, “The Gospel of Mercy according to Juan and Juana”, that she read in detention.
Before Bishop David left, he gave De Lima an autographed copy of his new book, “The Gospel of Love according to Juan and Juana”.