“Thank you, Bishop Soc Villegas, for your wisdom and compassion that continue to strengthen the faith of our nation and enlighten the minds of Filipinos.”
Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has thanked Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates “Soc” Villegas for lifting her spirits and keeping his faith in her as she continues her quest for truth and justice under Mr. Duterte’s tyrannical and vindictive regime.
In a handwritten letter she sent to him on the occasion of his birthday last Sept. 28, De Lima said Villegas has been a blessing not just to her but to the thousands of Filipino people who see him as a symbol of love, compassion and hope.
“Thank you for your wisdom and compassion that continue to strengthen the faith of our nation and enlighten the minds of Filipinos,” said De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the present administration.
“Thank you for reminding me that God’s love is more powerful than any evil and greater than any of our sufferings. Indeed, He is always with us,” she added.
Even though the Catholic clergy in the Philippines has always been subjected to Mr. Duterte’s tirades aimed at discrediting and tainting its public image, Villegas has remained firm in his resolve to fight for truth and justice without being cowed.
De Lima, likewise, reiterated her appreciation for what she called a “very inspiring and powerful” letter the Prelate has given her on her first year of illegal arrest and unjust detention in Feb. 24, 2018.
“Please know that your open letter for me on the first year of my unjust detention has deeply comforted me,” she shared.
“You have tremendously lifted my spirits with renewed courage for the ongoing battle, and immense hope for my freedom and vindication that lies ahead,” she added.
In the said letter written by Villegas and handed to De Lima in Feb. 24, 2018, the Prelate labelled the former justice secretary’s unjust detention as “the biggest symbol of what is wrong with our country.”
Villegas also said that De Lima’s courage and faith are also the “best symbol of hope for what we can do to heal this land” amid the “moral decay” hounding the Philippines.
The lady Senator from Bicol asked Villegas to continue praying for her and the Filipino people who continue to suffer under tha rule of a looming authoritarian.
“I wish you good health and profound joy. Please continue to pray for me and our country,” she said.
This 18th Congress, Last year, De Lima refiled her Human Rights Defenders Bill which seeks to institutionalize and enforce state obligations for the protection of human rights defenders, including the priests. (30)