Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima thanked Maria Ressa for including her story in her speech at Nobel Peace Prize awarding in Oslo.
De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, said she will always admire Ressa’s courage to speak the truth and fight for freedom of expression and of the press amid unyielding attacks against her by the current regime.
“Thank you, @mariaressa, for sharing my story and that of others, and our struggles, to the world. Congratulations again. Indeed, the world is watching and taking an action. Tuloy ang laban,” De Lima said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“Sa panahon na maraming nagdadalawang-isip at nananahinik laban sa kasinungalingan at pagyurak sa malayang pamamahayag, isa ka sa mga nanindigan para mangibabaw ang katotohanan. And that is truly worthy of recognition and admiration. You brought unrivalled honor to our country,” she added.
Ressa, the first Filipino Nobel laureate, accepted the Nobel Peace Prize at a grand, century-old ceremony in Oslo last Dec. 10.
The veteran journalist shared the prize with Russian investigative journalist Dmitry Muratov, who, like her, is also facing pressure from authorities for his effort to safeguard freedom of expression.
Notably, Ressa specifically mentioned De Lima during her speech, noting that there have been “costs” for those who help keep journalists safer and working in the country.
“In the Philippines, more lawyers have been killed — at least 63 compared to the 22 journalists murdered after President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016. Since then, Karapatan, a member of our #CourageON human rights coalition, has had 16 people killed, and Senator Leila de Lima — because she demanded accountability, is serving her fifth year in jail, Ressa said.
Atty. Dino de Leon, one of De Lima’s legal counsels and spokesperson, recently confirmed that Ressa tried to visit De Lima before leaving for Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize but was not allowed to do so.
“Bago siya pumunta sa Oslo, sinubukan ni Maria Ressa bumisita kay Senator Leila de Lima dahil as a Nobel Peace Laureate, sabi niya, isa si Senator Leila de Lima sa nagpapakinang ng ating demokrasya, na mayroon pa ring hope dito sa ating democracy,” De Leon shared in a radio interview last Dec. 12.
“Sinubukan niyang bisitahin si Senator Leila. Hindi siya pinayagan. Nakakalungkot,” he added.
Last October, De Lima filed Proposed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 930 congratulating Ressa for being the first Filipino recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize owing to her extraordinary courage and unwavering efforts in fighting for truth, democracy, freedom of expression and of the press. (30)