Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima today (Nov. 20) marks her 1,000th day in unjust and illegal detention under the authoritarian regime of Mr. Duterte who uses his power to silence and persecute his perceived political enemies.
De Lima, a prisoner of conscience, shared that her continued political persecution by the present government failed to suppress her spirit and instead strengthened her resolve to fight for her principles and defy her oppressors.
“1,000 days of a severely disrupted normal life. Days of isolation, restrictions and restraints, agitations, doubts and apprehensions. But there’s the other side, the good side,” she said in a handwritten statement.
“1,000 days of a contemplative life of simple joys and wants, of prayerful reflections. Days of sustained sanity and willpower. The will to survive, and overcome,” she said.
Despite her lack of access to communication devices since being unjustly detained on Feb. 24 2017, De Lima has continued to speak out on injustices, human rights violations and other burning national issues through her handwritten statements, with a total of 648 Dispatches to date, from her detention quarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
De Lima has also managed to fulfill her electoral mandate by having authored 52 bills and 20 resolutions and co-authored three bills and five resolutions, so far, this 18th Congress alone. In the 17th Congress, she authored and co-authored 153 bills and 161 resolutions.
She also continued to gain support from the local and international communities, with over 300 leaders, activists and organizations from across the world having issued a statement of indignation on her continued political persecution by the government in time for her 1,000th day in detention.
The global and local personalities who signed the statement, including Vice President Leni Robredo, urged the Duterte administration to drop all politically-motivated charges against De Lima and release her over trumped-up illegal drug trading charges.
Despite being “a defender now being defended in court” and “a protector of victims of abuses and human rights violations now a victim herself”, De Lima proudly shared that her physical restrictions did not prevent her from truly being “free.”
“I’m freer than most. Free to think and feel. Free to speak out. Free to fight. Unbelievable graces from the great Giver!” she said.
To protest De Lima’s political persecution and to rally for her freedom, her former and present colleagues, supporters, and friends will attend today a simultaneous indignation runs, followed by a Holy Mass, in Quezon City and in her hometown in Iriga City, Camarines Sur.
Dubbed “#1KNotOK Indignation Run,” the run in Quezon City was organized by the Human Rights and People Empowerment Center, the University of the Philippines Diliman University Student Council and Tindig Pilipinas while the run in Camarines Sur was led by De Lima’s youngest brother, Vicente “Vicboy” M. de Lima II.
It may be recalled that De Lima earned Mr. Duterte’s ire when she introduced a Senate resolution calling for an investigation into the spate of extrajudicial killings in the government’s all-out war on drugs, which prompted her incarceration. (30)