Ahead of her 60th birthday on Aug. 27, Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima will have a brief reunion with her colleagues in the opposition, friends, and supporters who will visit her in her detention at the Philippine National Police – Custodial Center, Camp Crame, Quezon City on Aug. 25, Sunday.
“It will be a simple gathering to express my gratitude to the people who have unfailingly vouched for my innocence and joined my fight for truth, justice and freedom since Day 1,” said De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime.
There will also be a Holy Mass to be officiated by Fr. Manuel Flores, SJ, along with Frs. Robert Reyes, Flavie Villanueva and Albert Alejo on Aug. 25.
Aside from her advanced birthday celebration, De Lima shared that she planned to share an intimate lunch and attend a Holy Mass with her family members inside her detention on the exact date of her birthday on Aug. 27.
The Mass, on the other hand, will be officiated by Bishop Teodoro Bacani Jr., along with Fathers Allan Castillo, Reyes, Villanueva and Alejo.
“I want it to be intimate and simple. It’s more like a family day, but of course sans my mom who is still currently recovering from her sickness, in Bicol, and with only a few friends present,” said De Lima, who will mark her third birthday in detention.
The lady Senator from Bicol also failed to celebrate her past two birthdays in detention with her 86-year-old mother Norma Magistrado de Lima, whom she only met for three times since her incarceration on Feb. 24, 2017.
While she is saddened by her mom’s absence on her special day, Sen. De Lima maintained that she already considered her brief reunion with her ailing mom last Aug. 15 in their ancestral house in Bicol as an “early birthday gift.” The senator was granted a 48-hour furlough by the Muntinlupa courts handling her trumped-up drug cases.
There are also other events lined up by De Lima’s supporters on the occasion of her 60th birthday, including the launchings of the Free Leila Committee on Aug. 26 and the “Leila de Lima Lecture Series” on Aug. 27.
The Free Leila Committee, which is a non-partisan group of independent-minded individuals who have come together to support strategic efforts to free the Senator from unjust detention, will be launched at the historic Club Filipino in San Juan on Aug. 26.
To be hosted by #EveryWomanPH, the inaugural lecture on Aug. 27 to be given by economist-journalist Prof. Solita “Winnie” Collas-Monsod at the Club Filipino, meanwhile, will discuss the advocacies and accomplishments of De Lima, including the relentless persecution that she is being subjected to by the Duterte regime.