Dispatch from Crame No. 77 (Sen. De Lima on CA’s rejection of Gina Lopez)


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As dismayed as I am of the CA’s rejection of Sec. Gina Lopez’s confirmation, I cannot say that I am surprised. These days, it isn’t anymore surprising to see men and women of the strongest conviction—who have the moral courage to stand up for what is right—be rejected, undermined and even be subjected to ad hominem attacks by a system ran by vested interests.

Let it not be said that I never gave Duterte credit for anything. He chose the right woman for the job. Too bad he failed to keep her there—I do wonder why, with all his power and influence. Apparently, there are forces in this country that even Duterte cannot risk being enemies with, inspite of all his tough talk about the destruction of the environment by mining companies.

To Ms. Gina Lopez, kudos to you and your passion. Saludo po ako sa inyong paninindigan!

I’m sure you already know this, but I want to say it anyway: never, even for a second, think that you failed. You did not fail to have your voice heard. You did not fail to defend what you believe is right. You did not fail promoting the rights of our people to a sustainable, balanced and healthful ecology.

It is the system that failed. It is the system peopled with those who opted to allow vested and financial interests to prevail over what is right and, in the ultimate analysis, practical and logical. It is that system that failed you, and it failed our people, including those that have been led to believe that all they deserve in life is to scratch a living out of the death and destruction of the environment, and at the peril of their own health and safety and that of their family.

Vested mining interests may have won this round. But I have to continue believing, as I hope you will, too, that your quest to protect the environment—like mine to uphold truth, justice and human rights—will not always be quixotic. Someday, people will see the truth behind the peddled lies. Someday—whether or not we find our respective personal vindication—at the very, very least, the advocacies and rights we stand up for will again see the light of day and be given the respect and protection they deserve from our government.

Until then, don’t stay down. Don’t let them see you defeated and silenced. Keep fighting the good fight.

I do believe you can fly and touch the sky.

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