Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima is grateful to international leaders and organizations who recently expressed their solidarity with her by condemning her continued political persecution and calling for her immediate release.
In separate letters, De Lima extended her gratitude to Canadian Senators Marilou McPhedran and Leo Housakos and Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) President Duarte Pacheco.
In thanking McPhedran, De Lima wrote, “I am writing to extend my most sincere appreciation for your recent call condemning my current unjust situation as a persecuted Senator and woman human rights defender. I laud your boundless bravery in lending your voice to amplify awareness on my indefinite detention due to trumped-up drug charges.”
“Your recent motion at the Senate of Canada to ‘condemn the Philippine government’s unjust and arbitrary detention of Senator Leila M. de Lima’ places a global spotlight on my situation and highlights the urgent need for continuing vigilance of the international community on what is happening in our country,” De Lima added.
De Lima told Housakos that “I am indeed indebted to you, dear Senator, for your unwavering and continuous support for my plight.”
Recently, McPhedran filed Motion No. 75 before the House of Commons of Canada condemning the wrongful imprisonment of De Lima. The said motion was supported by Housakos, who, like McPhedran, delivered a speech expressing support for the Filipina Senator.
In her letter to Pacheco, meanwhile, De Lima said she appreciates IPU’s “unfaltering commitment in calling for my immediate release and for tirelessly condemning my unjust situation as a legislator, prisoner of conscience, and woman rights defender under the Duterte administration.”
During its 207th session conducted virtually last May 25, the IPU Governing Council approved a nine-point recommendation by the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, including, among others, a call for De Lima’s freedom and an appeal to ensure that she benefits from the Senate’s move towards teleconferencing.
The lady Senator from Bicol said the support she continues to receive from international leaders like McPhedran and Housakos and groups like IPU continues to strengthen her resolve.
“All of your support further lifts my spirit to continue pushing for our shared causes of promoting democracy, defending the rule of law and upholding human rights,” De Lima told McPhedran.
“I remain strong, inspired and motivated to continue to fight for our common causes because I know that I have the support of a majority of the Filipino people and the international community as well, including parliamentarians all over the world such as your good self. This knowledge gives me inspiration and motivation,” she told Housakos.
De Lima told Pacheco that it “humbles” her that IPU has maintained its dedication in monitoring her case and believing in her innocence, adding that “your dedication inspires me to remain undeterred in pushing for our common causes and advocacies.”
In a separate statement, De Lima also thanked the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) for their steadfast resolve to ensure that she gets the justice she deserves.
“Through the years, members of APHR have stood by me and I can never thank you enough for your continued trust and support for our shared causes for human rights, justice and democracy,” she said.
In a Twitter post last June 14, APHR wrote: “Solidarity from MPs across the world. Canada’s @SenMarilou and @SenatorHousakos repeat calls for the immediate release of APHR member @SenLeiladeLimain #Philippines @FreeLeilaNow#MPsAtRisk.” (30)