Dispatch from Crame No. 146: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Statement on Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) Women’s Caucus Visit

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Despite the relentless attacks and outright lies thrown against me by the evil Duterte regime to destroy my dignity and womanhood, I am grateful that many people have expressed and continued to vouch for my integrity.

Just yesterday, leaders of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) Women’s Caucus, namely, the current Chair Jayanthi Balaguru (Malaysia) former Chair of the Hongkong Democratic Party, Emily Lau, and Vice Pres. of the International Network of Liberal Women (INLW) and Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD) Maysing Yang, visited me to check on my condition as a “prisoner of conscience.”

I am very grateful for their very warm and gracious words of encouragement and support. I do not know them personally, and though it was our first time to meet, I easily felt from our discussion that we are kindred spirits—women who uphold human rights and value democratic principles.

Expressing concern over my continued detention, they believe, and rightly so, that I was detained on politically-motivated and trumped-up charges. They firmly hold the view that such travesty of justice is unprecedented here in the Philippines which has long been considered a model for democracy in Asia. We also discussed the very dubious moves against Ombudsman Morales and Chief Justice Sereno – putting in question the full term of office of the former and the filing of impeachment complaint versus the latter. They also noted how our democratic institutions, including the media, are now being threatened under the growing authoritarian rule of Duterte.

Together with other highly reputable and international organizations, CALD has also condemned the brazen killings in our country that has claimed over 12,000 lives, as well as the relentless political persecution against me by this vindictive President.

To my fellow women, countrymen and to all the people of goodwill around the world, let us remain vigilant, stand up for what is just, and defend our human rights and democracy.

The growing clamor for accountability will ensure that justice will catch up with Duterte and his cohorts. Try as they might to cover up their abuses and vilify human rights defenders, but the world, the UN and the ICC are watching and cannot be fooled. ###

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