As she marks her second year of unjust detention today (Feb. 24), Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has received warm company from friends and colleagues who expressed solidarity to her and vowed to support her fight for freedom, justice and human rights.
De Lima’s visitors including Liberal Party (LP) President and Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senator Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, and Atty. Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno commemorated her second year of illegal arrest by attending a Holy Mass officiated by Bishop Broderick Pabillo at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
Pangilinan said he came to show her support for De Lima – whose courage and resilience he admires the most – to remind her that she is not alone in her fight for truth.
“Nandito tayo upang ipakita natin na hindi siya nakakalimutan. Patuloy nating ipinaglalaban na darating ang araw na siya’y makakalaya sa kaniyang detention,” Pangilinan said in an interview.
“Hindi tayo mawawalan ng loob, patuloy tayong maniniwala na dapat siyang palayain. Hindi makatarungan ang kanyang pagiging isang detention prisoner dito. So we are continuing the fight,” he added.
The LP President admitted that De Lima’s optimism and enthusiasm to warmly welcome her visitors amid her situation still leaves him awestruck, saying, “Matapang pa rin siya (De Lima) at hindi nakikitaan ng anumang kahinaan ng loob.”
Drilon’s message may be short and sweet but it has sincerely spoken of hope. “Keep strong, Leila,” he said before leaving the receiving area in Camp Crame where all the visitors gathered to commemorate the “Day of Injustice.”
In her speech before her friends and colleagues after the Holy Mass, De Lima said that Feb. 24 should always be remembered as a Day of Injustice because “it is the day where truth, justice, rule of law, and democracy were put to test.”
Aquino, on his part, said he hopes that De Lima could gain more support from the Filipino people to pressure the government to release her and allow her to make big contributions in the Senate.
“Hindi na po makatarungan itong nangyayari po sa kanya and we’re hoping that makakalaya rin siya at maka-participate po sa Senado,” Aquino said.
“You know ngayon po, kahit nakakulong po siya she participates in the Senate, she files resolutions. If she were allowed to go back to the Senate pag napalaya na po siya, di- hamak mas magiging maganda po yung kanyang performance bilang isang senador ng bayan,” he added.
While it may take some time for De Lima to regain her freedom, Atty. Diokno said he believes that truth will come in time and that good will trump the evil.
“Lalabas at lalabas din ang katotohanan at mabibigyan din siya ng katarungan. Alam natin ngayon na medyo madilim ang pananaw natin sa kaniyang mga kaso. Pero ako’y naniniwala na hindi naman nila pwedeng pigilan ang liwanag,” he said.
Meanwhile, former congressman Ibarra “Barry” Gutierrez said he is looking forward to the day when De Lima will finally regain her freedom and be vindicated from all the trumped-up drug charges against her.
“I never thought that her detention will last this long but I will always be inspired by her courage and strength amid this ordeal. She serves as an inspiration sa lahat ng taong handing tumindig sa mga nangyayari ngayon sa ilalim ng administrasyong Duterte,” he said. Other notable personalities who visited De Lima in her detention include former Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, former peace adviser Ging Deles, former Presidential Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang, Bro. Armin, and Nelly Nicolas among others.