Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima’s eldest son and siblings will receive the prestigious “Prize for Freedom” Award from the Liberal International (LI) on behalf of the Senator, who was recognized for her unwavering fight to defend human rights.
In a simple awarding ceremony to be held at Novotel Manila, Araneta Center, Quezon City on July 28, De Lima’s eldest son, Israel, her two brothers Vicente “Vicboy” de Lima II and Vicente “Nonoy” de Lima Jr., and her sister, Caroline de Lima, are expected to accept the trophy and plaque for the Senator.
“Inasmuch as I personally want to grace the awarding ceremony to receive this prestigious Human Rights Prize, such is impossible because of my continued unjust detention under Duterte’s murderous regime. But I am happy that my son and siblings will be there to represent me,” she said.
LI regarded De Lima as a “flag-bearer for human rights in the Philippines and beyond, setting a shining example for other human rights defenders.”
According to the London-based world federation of liberal and progressive democratic parties, De Lima will be conferred the “Prize for Freedom” award for her “exceptional contribution to the advancement of human rights” in the Philippines.
De Lima will be the second Filipino to accept the Human Rights Prize, after then President Corazon Aquino in 1987, who was recognized “for her world-renowned advocacy of democracy, peace, and the empowerment of women.”
According to LI, the award is given to “a well-known personality of liberal conviction who has made outstanding efforts for the defence of freedom and human rights.”
LI’s previous high-profile awardees include LI’s former Argentinian President Raul Alfonsin (1985), former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (1989), Nobel Peace Prize laureate and now State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi (1995), Saudi activist Raif Badawi (2016), and prominent Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti (2017), among others.
It will not be the first time for De Lima’s son and siblings to receive an award on her behalf since she was detained on trumped-up drug charges fabricated by Duterte and his minions last Feb. 24.
Israel, Vicboy and Nonoy De Lima accepted the “Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender” Award for 2018 given to the Senator by the Amnesty International in its first-ever “Ignite Awards for Human Rights” during the awarding ceremony held at Luxent Hotel in Quezon City last June 2.
Prior to this award, De Lima was also recognized by the Foreign Policy magazine as one of the leading Global Thinkers for 2016 and 2017; by Time Magazine as one of 100 Most Influential People, one of the Icons, for 2017; by Fortune Magazine as 39th World’s Greatest Leader; and by Amnesty International as the Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender for 2018, among others.