Senator Leila M. de Lima is named as one of the last women standing in the country by Ateneo Law magazine “The Palladium” for her unwavering fight to defend human rights and democracy and defy the administration’s twisted policies amid her unjust detention.
The article entitled “The Last Woman Standing” written by Mars Barrameda was written and published to honor the Filipino women who are recognized as “the frontlines in the country’s battle to remain resolute in the pursuit for a stronger democracy.”
“A year into her incarceration, De Lima has not shown signs of stopping in the condemnation of impunity, the corruption, of the nation’s democratic institutions,” Barrameda said in her article.
“De Lima, despite her subjugation as dissenter, prisoner, and woman, has risen above conflict, and remains to be on the side of truth and justice,” she added.
“The Last Woman Standing” was published in the September 2019 issue of The Palladium, which is the official student newspaper of the Ateneo School of Law “committed to responsible journalism inside and beyond the law school.”
In the article, Barrameda described De Lima as former law professor and election lawyer, a former justice secretary and a duly-elected senator of the Republic who “has never been silent in her respective posts about her views and dissents” but “sits behind the bars of a cell she does not belong in.”
The women who shared the same recognition with the lady Senator from Bicol in The Palladium include Vice President Leni Robredo and Rappler Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa, who, like De Lima, “are caught at the crosshairs of an elaborate demolition job.”
Barrameda said Robredo has been attacked by the government “with fervor” and “has been the constant target of fake news,” while Ressa has been “charged with cyber-libel over an article published before the law penalizing it was passed.”
The author pointed out that De Lima’s personal life has been the target of vicious and persistent attacks by the present government, notably during the House inquiry on the Bilibid drug trade, even before formal charges were filed against her in court.
“De Lima descended into notoriety as a woman – not in her brute strength, in her position as senator, in the progress she brought in her time in cabinet, but rather as this frail woman who is subject to vices and lures of the heart,” Barrameda said.
“The tragedy in all of this is the complete disinterest in the factual bases of the cases against her, and the disregard of its merits,” the author added.
An outspoken critic of Duterte, De Lima has been detained for obviously trumped-up drug charges based mostly on false testimonies of convicted criminals as a result of her courage in defying the breakdown of the rule of law in the country.
De Lima, who exposed Mr. Duterte’s involvement in the vigilante group known as the “Davao Death Squad” during her term as chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, further earned the latter’s ire when she introduced a Senate resolution calling for an investigation into the spate of EJKs in the country under the government’s drug war.
Despite De Lima’s confinement in the isolated quarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City for more than two years now, Barrameda said the Senators’ Dispatches from Crame “have become her direct line, speaking in her behalf of what must be said, but strip from the mouths of too many.” (30)