De Lima pledges ‘louder, bolder’ fight for truth

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She may have been unjustly incarcerated for over a thousand days now, but Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has refused to be cowed into silence believing that her incarceration made her an instrument of the poor and the oppressed in fighting for truth and speaking out loudly against injustices.

De Lima, who marked her 1,000th day in unjust detention last Nov. 20, said her life as a prisoner of conscience allowed her to relate with and learn important life lessons from the struggles of her countrymen, especially the poor.

“What is 1,000 days of detention to the eternal agony of a mother who lost her beloved child in a sham war against drugs? While in detention, I am learning life’s greatest lessons from the struggles of ordinary Filipinos,” she said.

“This undeserved pain is not for nothing. Because this is not about me.  I am but an instrument. My story is not my own.  It is but a platform to tell the story of thousands of others; a part of the continuing saga of a people waging a battle far bigger than my own suffering,” she added.

De Lima’s message, entitled “1,000 Days: Still Fighting and Keeping Truth Alive,” was read by her Deputy Chief of Staff Atty. Catherine Sy, before an indignation run in Quezon City, which was held in protest of her continued political persecution in time for her 1,000th day in detention.

Dubbed as “#1KNotOK Indignation Run,” the run was led by Fr. Robert Reyes, along with Rep. Kit Belmonte, former Reps. Gary Alejano, Erin Tañada and Tom Villarin, and attended by hundreds of De Lima’s supporters.

De Lima, a known human rights defender, said she will not waver in her fight for truth and justice knowing that there are people beyond the walls of her detention cell who face greater sufferings than her.

“For others, death is the price that they pay for standing up for what is right and just, or for simply being poor,” she said, citing among others, the plight of the estimated 27,000 people killed in the government’s drug war.

“If they, who have seen and felt the worst, can still stand and fight for other people, even in the face of terror, what right do I have to look the other way and live in comfortable silence? I have chosen to take their struggle as my own, as they have taken mine as theirs,” she added.

The lady Senator from Bicol said she has been unjustly incarcerated simply because she continues to choose “to speak and stand for the truth.”

“I choose not to be silenced and, instead, I choose to continue spreading the Truth, ever louder than ever,” she said.

“Admittedly, there are whispers of fear that pass through me from time to time. [T]here is always that creeping hopelessness, but I refuse to give in. Napapagod pero hindi kailanman sumusuko,” she added.

De Lima, who surrendered to the arresting officers on February 24, 2017 and continues to be detained on trumped-up illegal drug trading charges, also reiterated that she is honored to be jailed for her convictions. (30)

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