Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima thanked Sen. Grace Poe for expressing solidarity with her by raising awareness about her continued unjust detention.
De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, said she was “deeply touched” by Poe’s kind words for her during the latter’s farewell speech for the outgoing Senators of the 18th Congress last May 31.
“Thank you [Sen. Grace Poe] for openly recognizing the injustice that has befallen me,” De Lima said in a handwritten letter to Poe.
In her speech, Poe gave tribute to eight outgoing Senators, including De Lima, saying, “All of the eight, every one of them, will leave a void in this chamber as big as the one in my heart.
“I will also miss the company and counsel of those I have shared the trenches with for the past decade or so. Wow it’s been more than that na pala.
“Beginning with the lady behind bars, but who keeps on fighting the good fight,” Poe said, referring to De Lima.
“Senator Leila is unbroken, but her incarceration is proof that our justice system is broken,” Poe added.
The lady Senator from Bicol said she will miss the Senate but ensure that she will continue working for her advocacies even as a private citizen.
“Indeed, departures always leave an irreplaceable void. I will miss the Senate and will always remain amazed by the magnitude of our duty and grateful for the opportunity to have served, albeit under a less than ideal environment given my situation.
“But this is not goodbye, Sen. Grace. Tuloy ang laban natin para sa katotohanan at hustisya. I look forward to continue working with you on our shared causes,” she said.
As Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, De Lima authored and sponsored four landmark bills successfully passed into law, to wit: the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Institutionalization Act, Magna Carta of the Poor Act, National Commission of Senior Citizens Act, and the Community Based Monitoring System Act.
Since 2016, De Lima has authored/co-authored nearly 700 bills and resolutions combined. Of this, over 600 were filed while in detention. (30)