WASHINGTON, D.C. – Human rights advocate and now Senator Leila M. de Lima has been cited in the influential Foreign Policy magazine’s list of 100 leading global thinkers for 2016 for her works in investigating the spate of extrajudicial killings in the country.
De Lima, former chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights and former justice secretary, is honored “for standing up to an extremist leader” as one of the 13 global thinkers in the “Challengers” category under the 100 leading global thinkers for this year.
“Since taking office in June, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has waged a brutal war on drugs. Thousands of alleged traffickers, dealers, and users have been executed by state forces or pro-government vigilantes,” the citation said.
“In response, Sen. Leila de Lima has been a steadfast advocate for the rule of law. As the chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, she spearheaded an investigation into the extrajudicial killings–work that landed her firmly in Duterte’s crosshairs,” it added.
Among the extraordinary ranks of FP’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers for 2016 are individuals and organizations that have championed worthy causes. Among them include former US State Department Hillary Clinton, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
Apart from De Lima, also honored as “Challengers” are Rep. Geraldine Roman, French Penitentiary Administration Project Director Geraldine Blin, Women Without Borders Founder Edit Schlaffer, Zimbabwe Pastor Evan Mawarire, among others.
“Like a coat of many colors, these individuals showed that agitation takes myriad forms,” the FP stressed.
The Foreign Policy also cited how De Lima has bravely refused to be silenced by the blatant and incessant attacks by President Duterte’s allies as she stood her ground and vowed for her innocence against trumped-up charges leveled against her.
“President Duterte’s loyalists accused de Lima of being involved in the drug trade and ousted her as head of the investigation in September. That didn’t silence her, though. She called on the United Nations to examine the violence, arguing that Manila isn’t equipped ‘to serve complete justice to the victims’,” the citation noted. “After the criminal accusations, de Lima said, ‘I am willing to resign; I am willing to be shot in front of the president… I am confident to prove him wrong. I will stand by my innocence, any time now and forever’,” it added.