De Lima commiserates with mother of EJK victim

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has extended her sympathies to a Filipino mother, Nanette Castillo, who continues to carry the emotional burden of losing her son to extrajudicial killing under the government’s bloody war on drugs roughly two years ago.

De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime and a mother of two, said she can relate with the harrowing ordeal that Castillo lives with every single day because her unjust detention has prevented her from spending more time with her sons.

“Paano nga ba pupunuan ang mga bisig na nangungulila sa anak na tuluyan nang lumisan? Paano nga ba maghihilom ang puso ng isang ina?” De Lima wrote in a handwritten letter to “Nanay Nanette” on the occasion of the latter’s son Aldrin’s birthday last Aug. 24.

“Nanay Nanette, sa halos tatlong taon ko dito sa piitan, walang araw na hindi ko inisip ang aking dalawang anak at kung makakasama ko pa kaya silang muli nang tuluyan. Kung kaya’t dama ko ang iyong hinagpis,” she added.

Aldrin, who would have turned 34, was reportedly killed by masked men on motorcycles in Tondo, Manila on Oct. 2, 2017. He was about to cross the road when the gunmen cut him off and shot him five times.

On the same day, De Lima’s letter was read by Mrs. Castillo after the Holy Mass to commemorate Aldrin’s birthday at their residence in Tondo, Manila. The Holy Mass was officiated by Fr. Albert Alejo, S.J. and attended by members of various human rights groups.

“Sa kaarawang ito ni Aldrin, hiling ko ang maayos na kalusugan at katiwasayan ng kalooban para sa iyo. Patuloy kang kumapit sa pag-asa at pananampalataya sa Diyos na mapagpalaya,” De Lima said.

De Lima, a human rights and social justice champion, expressed admiration for Mrs. Castillo’s courage and unwavering pursuit for justice not only for the death of his son but also for other victims of extrajudicial killings.

“Kung kaya’t maraming salamat dahil hindi ka pa rin sumusuko sa paghahanap ng hustisya, hindi lamang para kay Aldrin kung hindi para na rin sa lahat ng biktima ng kawalang katarungan,” she said.

Since her son’s death, the Castillo matriarch has volunteered for Rise Up for Life and for Rights, a Church-based non-profit group supporting and organizing the victims of EJKs and their families.

Among Mrs. Castillo’s duties include talking to family members, who, like her, continue to suffer from emotional stress, trauma, and anxiety even years after losing their loved ones to violence.

“Hindi madali ang lumabas at magsalita dahil sadyang malupit ang mundong ginagalawan natin ngayon. Sana ay patuloy kang maging daan upang ang mga pinili na lang manahimik ay magkaroon ng boses,” said De Lima, a former justice secretary.

“Hindi madali ang paghilom ngunit sana ay mahanap mo ang kapanatagan sa piling ng mamamayang nagkakaisa para sa katarungan at kapayapaan. Sana ay makamit na natin ang ating hinahangad na hustisya,” she added.

De Lima, known as the staunchest critic of the Duterte administration’s bogus war on drugs, has repeatedly declared her innocence from the concocted drug charges, expressing belief that the truth will finally come out amid the lies being hurdled at her by the government.

(Access Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s handwritten letter to Nanay Nanette here:https://bit.ly/2MONe8g)

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