Dispatch from Crame No. 722: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Message of Thanks on the Success of the Lawfare Forum


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Today marks my 3rd full year in detention. Tomorrow marks the beginning of my 4th. I don’t know for how long I will remain unjustly detained but I do know one thing for certain: my will to fight for what is right remains undeterred and, in fact, is validated and reinvigorated by recent developments and successes – not the least of which is the Forum held two days ago at De La Salle University.

Last Friday, Feb. 21, our nation became the host of the first ever International Forum on “Lawfare”, particularly on the Weaponization of the Law Against Democratic Dissent.

It is an honor for our nation to – once again – play a significant role in the history and progress of Democracy around the world. Even while our government continues to slide backwards into tyranny and repression, it is a source of comfort to know that the rest of Filipino society has not given up the fight for their rights, liberties and sovereignty.

Before the forum, I was told that even some of the organizers harbored some doubt that the Forum could fill up the 3-level Teresa Yuchengco Auditorium, which can seat 1,100 persons. I myself hoped for the success of the Forum, but consciously kept expectations at prudent and manageable levels. We were expecting to welcome around 500 or so attendees, so it is with quite a bit of surprise and even greater joy that – come Forum Day – ALL expectations surpassed when more than double the number of expected attendees graced the Forum. In total, 1,178 delegates attended and – most importantly – participated in an event that is nothing less than a step forward in the Fight for Democracy,

Truly, we proved the truth in the saying that society steps up where government is lacking through the partnership among the organizers, namely, DLSU, Human Rights and People Empowerment Center, Alternative Law Groups, the Committee for the Freedom of Leila de Lima, and our media partner, Rappler; as well as through the indispensable participation and contributions of distinguished speakers, reactors, and moderators in both plenary and breakout sessions; and the unprecedented attendance from members of the legal profession, the academe, civil society groups, diplomatic community, students, and media, among other delegates.

Therefore, I would like to thank and congratulate all my fellow defenders of Democracy, Justice, Rule of Law and Human Rights for taking a very vocal, visible, decisive and unequivocal stance against the silencing of democratic dissent through the weaponization of law. Indeed, we must continue to fight against the bastardization of the Rule of Law, and to reclaim its dignity and role in upholding – and not corrupting! – Justice.

That is what the Forum is about, yet it is but a start.

Today, tomorrow and in the coming years – perhaps even decades – or however long it takes, we must fight for the fundamental principle that Justice and Rule of Law ought to serve the people, not enslave them in fear of reprisals for simply exercising their fundamental rights and protecting their dignities as human being.

Sa lahat na dumalo at nakiisa sa amin, maraming maraming salamat po! ###

(Access the handwritten version of Dispatch from Crame No. 722, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_no._722)Issuu is a digital publishing platform that makes it simple to publish magazines, catalogs, newspapers, books, and more online. Easily share your publications and get them in front of Issuu’s millions of monthly readers. Title: Dispatch from Crame No. 722, Author: Senator Leila M. de Lima, Name: D…

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