Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has reiterated her firm resolve to speak out against the continued spate of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations in the country to thwart the creeping dictatorship under the Duterte administration.
In her solidarity message during the 4th Congress of Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) last Aug. 26, De Lima stressed the need to fight the looming threat of dictatorship and declaration of a nationwide martial law.
“Kaya naman bago tuluyang manaig ang diktadurya at maisalalim ang buong bansa sa martial law, hamon sa ating lahat na paigtingin pa ang ating pagkilos, palakasin at bigkisin ang ating mga kampanya at pag-ibayuhin ang masinsin na pag-oorganisa,” she said.
De Lima, the staunchest critic of the Duterte regime’s crooked policies, also urged SENTRO to use its gathering to inspire Filipinos to jointly condemn the widespread injustice and the suppression of democracy.
“Gibain natin ang hadlang upang tayo ay magsama-sama, at gaya ng pagtitipon nyo ngayon, maging Kongreso tayo ng nagkakaisang sambayanang tutol sa pagsiil sa hustisya at demokrasya sa bansa,” she said.
Known as the first prominent political prisoner of the Duterte regime, De Lima is in detention for more than two and a half years now for trumped-up drug charges fabricated by the Duterte regime as part of orchestrated efforts to silence her.
The lady Senator from Bicol expressed gratitude to SENTRO for standing by her and believing in her innocence from the politically-motivated drug charges concocted by the government using convicted criminals as witnesses.
“Nakakataba ng puso dahil alam kong kasabay ng inyong paanyaya ay ang suporta at paniniwala na ako ay tunay na walang-sala at inosente sa lahat ng paratang at mapanirang akusasyon sa akin ng rehimeng Duterte,” she said.
At the same time, the former justice secretary denounced the Duterte government’s failure to fulfill its promises to the labor sector, such as salary hike, end to contractualization and the creation of more employment opportunities.
“Pero hindi ito ang nangyayari. Inuulit lang ni Duterte ang polisiya ni Marcos: bumuo ng ekonomiya na ang pundasyon ay utang at babayaran nating lahat at ng ating mga anak sa susunod na henerasyon. At ngayon sagana sa korapsyon ang gobyerno,” she said.
Instead of using his political will to fulfill his commitment to the labor sector, De Lima said Duterte has resorted to political persecution against those who criticize his dubious government policies and rampant human rights abuses.