De Lima expresses gratitude to US Sen. Durbin for steadfast support for her


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has thanked US Sen. Richard Durbin for his steadfast support for her as she nears her fourth year in unjust detention under the vindictive Duterte regime.

In her letter to Durbin dated Feb. 1, De Lima also thanked the US Senator for his unwavering effort to condemn and speak out against the worsening human rights abuses in the country.

“As I approach my fourth year in unjust detention, I would like to express my profound gratitude for your steadfast support and demand for accountability in the Philippines,” she wrote.

“May you and your family always be in good health and high spirits as you prevail in all your pursuits,” she added.

As early as 2019, Durbin already expressed concern about De Lima’s situation through a letter personally sent to her office, saying, “I am troubled that you remain unjustly jailed and admire your steadfast courage and adherence to your [principles].

Durbin further stressed that “it is more important than ever that we stand by our human rights and democratic values amid times of political turbulence or upheaval.”

Meanwhile, aside from thanking Durbin, De Lima wrote the letter to personally congratulate the former for being designated Senate Majority Whip, the third-highest ranking member of the majority party in the US Senate, as well as head of the Senate Judiciary committee.

“Befitting your honor and character is the serious responsibility of your position during this pivotal period in the United States government,” she said.

“Your democratic leadership, alongside Senator Patrick Leahy as Senate President Pro Tempore, gives tremendous upswing of optimism in our unwavering commitment to justice and human rights,” she added.

Prior to sending the letter, De Lima also congratulated Durbin through a Twitter post last Jan. 26 where she also wrote, “may you continue to champion human rights as you embark in the next chapter of your country’s journey.”

In retort, Durbin vowed continued support for De Lima via a Twitter post last Jan. 30, saying, “I want to assure you that I will never stop supporting your fight for human rights in the Philippines.”

It may be recalled that Durbin is among the five US Senators who wrote to then US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo last July 2020 informing the latter about the ongoing human rights abuses in the Philippines. The concerns they raised include De Lima’s situation, particularly her unjust detention.

Durbin is also among those who supported the bipartisan resolution, logged as Senate Resolution (SR) 142, calling for her immediate release from wrongful imprisonment and invoking Global Magnitsky sanctions against her persecutors. It was unanimously approved at the US Senate last year.

De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime who remains detained over trumped-up drug charges fabricated by the government, will mark her 4th year in unjust detention on Feb. 24.

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