De Lima thanks fellow Bicolanos for standing by her fight for freedom

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IRIGA CITY- Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has thanked her supporters here for their unwavering support for her and her causes after the events marking her 1,000th day in unjust and indefinite detention concluded last Nov. 20

In a message read by her youngest brother, Vicente “Vicboy” De Lima II, during a celebration of the Holy Mass in their ancestral home, Sen. De Lima thanked her fellow Irigeños for their continued vigilance in the injustices happening in the country.

“Thank you, my fellow Bicolanos, for rising to the call of the times even as it has become more difficult to express dissent, with the killings of human rights defenders and the crackdown on legitimate organizations critical of the government,” she said.

“As Bicolanos, we have always been part of our country’s continuing struggle for justice and lasting peace. Hindi tayo kailanman tumatalikod sa tawag ng tungkulin na ipagtanggol ang bayang inaapi,” she added.

The Holy Mass was celebrated by Msgr. Nono Sañado and concelebrated by Frs. Tito Oliva, Manny Seranilla and Dan Aguilar. It was attended by over 700 people, including participants and volunteers of the “#1KNotOK SOS45 Run.”

The Senator shared that she uses the moments when she misses being with her family as a motivation to continue pressing forward despite experiencing relentless persecution from Mr. Duterte and his sycophants.

“When you are incarcerated, it is during those solitary moments after the last visitor for the day has left that you become vulnerable to the hopelessness that tries to creep in, especially when you start longing for home and its warmth,” she said.

“But these are also the moments of clarity and deepening faith, making you realize why you have to wake up stronger the next day,” she added.

During the gathering at their ancestral house, Vicboy notably repeated his sister’s impassioned declaration when she surrendered herself to arresting authorities at Senate on Feb. 24, 2017, which was met with applause by the crowd.

“When I surrendered to the arresting officers on February 24, 2017, I said that it is my honor to be jailed for my convictions.  Today, 1,000 days since my arrest, I will say it again: Karangalan ko po na makulong dahil sa mga pinaglalaban ko,” Vicboy recalled, quoting his sister.

Karangalan ko din na maging bahagi ng malawak na kilusang lumalaban para sa katarungan at katotohanan,” he continued, still quoting Sen. De Lima.

An outspoken critic of Mr. Duterte, Sen. De Lima has been detained since 2017 on obviously trumped-up drug charges based mostly on false testimonies of convicted criminals as a result of her courage in speaking out against the oppressive policies of the Duterte administration. (30)

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