Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima today marks her second year of unjust detention which reminds an authoritarian regime in the country under the hands of Mr. Duterte who uses his power to persecute his political critics.
De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, maintained that her continued unjust detention only asserts Mr. Duterte’s failure to break her spirit and prevent her from defending human rights and the rule of law.
“The vengeful Mr. Duterte may be successful in confining me in this isolated quarters in Camp Crame for two years now, but he also failed to stop me from fulfilling my public duties in the last two years, and he will continue to fail to do such in the days to come,” she said.
She added that Feb. 24 should always be remembered as a “Day of Injustice” in the country because “it will remind us that, aside from me, there are others out there who were falsely accused and were made to pay for the crimes that they never committed because justice has always been on the hands of the powerful.”
Without access to any electronic gadget and communication device, De Lima managed to fulfill her electoral mandate having authored and co-authored 142 bills and 146 resolutions, with 113 bills and 123 resolutions drafted inside her detention.
She has also continued to publish handwritten statements about important national issues and personal reflections from her detention quarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City. To date, she has already issued 473 dispatches.
Today, De Lima is releasing her third book entitled “Dispatches from Crame II: Faith Hope & Love” which is a compilation of her handwritten statements about significant issues in the country, such as human rights, press freedom, and political persecution, to name a few.
The lady Senator from Bicol also continued to gain support from the local and international communities who doubt the legitimacy of the cases against her and repeatedly called for her immediate release from illegal detention.
Among these groups and individuals include her colleagues from the Senate, the European Parliament, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Australian and European Parliaments, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch, among many others.
Despite her continued political persecution, De Lima has consistently received awards and recognitions here and abroad, which recognized her unwavering fight for human rights.
These accolades include the 100 Most Influential People in the world in 2017 by the Time magazine, one of the leading Global Thinkers for 2016 and 2017 by the Foreign policy, one of 50 World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune magazine, and the Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender for 2018 by Amnesty International, among others. De Lima said she will continue to draw her strength from her family, friends, supporters, and the millions of Filipinos who need her help to allow her to work harder and file more meaningful legislative measures that will benefit her countrymen, and consistently advance the causes of human rights and social justice.