Sen. Leila M. de Lima today thanked her family and friends who visited her and attended a Holy Mass with her in anticipation of Christmas Day inside her detention quarters at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
De Lima, who is celebrating her first Christmas in detention, said the love and support she is getting from families and friends strengthen and inspire her to keep fighting for her causes despite efforts by the present administration to taint her reputation.
“Of course, this political persecution brought about by this vindictive regime pains me. Pero sa kabila ng lahat ng ito, masaya akong makapiling kayo ngayong Pasko ang aking pamilya, mga kaibigan at taga-suporta,” she shared.
The Sunday Mass was officiated by Fathers Robert Reyes, Hector Cañon and Flavie Villanueva inside the PNP-Custodial Center where the Senator has been detained for 303 days now.
During the Mass, Father Reyes thanked De Lima for being a “martyr” for her country, explaining that being a martyr means standing up for what is right in God’s eye notwithstanding the challenges that go with it.
De Lima’s brother, Vicente “Macky” de Lima II, greeted the Senator and conveyed his “unwavering love” for her after the Mass.
“We wish a very merry Christmas for our dear Leila. Christmas celebrates the birth of our Lord. What better way to celebrate it than to practice what He preached. Above all, Jesus preached about love. So here’s wishing you our dear Leila our unconditional and unwavering love,” he said.
Also present during the Mass was the Senator’s aunt, Ramon Magsaysay Awardee and former head of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), Lilia de Lima, who lauded De Lima for her tireless effort to stand up for what she believes in.
“Very few people are given the chance to do what they believe in. Leila is blessed to do and pursue what she believes. As Socrates said, ‘an unexamined life is not worth living.’ She is living a life worth living,” the Senator’s aunt shared.
De Lima’s other brother Vicente “Nonoy” de Lima Jr. also attended the Mass. Her sister, Carolyn, was not present because she has to oversee the family tradition of giving gifts to Aetas and other indigent families in Iriga City. It is also the first time that the Senator is going to miss the Christmas gift-giving tradition.
After the Mass, families, relatives and friends lunched together, followed by the singing of Christmas carols and exchange gifts.
The former justice secretary will be celebrating her first Christmas Day inside her detention, in Camp Crame tomorrow to be joined by family, relatives and friends.
De Lima earlier confirmed that she, as with other PNP Custodial Center detainees, were granted visits on Christmas Eve, December 24, until 1 a.m. the following day and on December 25, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In the end, De Lima wishes for vindication and freedom from her unjust detention under the Duterte regime.