Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged the Filipino public to resist the Duterte administration’s deliberate attempt to poison their hearts and minds by making them disregard the 31-year-old Constitution and abandon the rule of law.
De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, said the administration’s tactics is to defeat the defenders of the human rights and rule of law by making them see the apparent futility of their efforts.
“Pinapagod nila ang isip at puso ng mga tao. Gusto nilang bumitiw na tayo sa pagtatanggol sa katotohanan at katarungan,” she said in her message during the National Law Day forum held at the Adamson University, Manila last Sept. 19.
She added, “they are trying to show people that nothing we do really matters; that a complete lack of good faith from those in the highest echelons of power, conspiring with one another, could undo the progress that has been achieved because of the forethought and hard work that framers and lawmakers have put into painstakingly writing, discussing and debating provisions of the Constitution.”
In Duterte’s first two years in office, the former justice secretary explained that the public saw how the 1987 Constitution, laws and rules were easily bent to accommodate his and his allies’ special interests.
She pointed out how Duterte has shown his penchant to abuse power by attacking his critics – from her unjust detention in 2017 on trumped-up drug charges to the recent revocation of the amnesty granted to Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV.
“No tactic is too shameful to take anymore, if it means those in power can do whatever they want, whenever they want,” she said.
“A move or a legal argument could be so blatantly unfair, unethical, unlawful and unconstitutional, yet they [Duterte and his allies] would still do it because there is no one brave and independent enough to tell them no,” she added.
De Lima stressed the true crisis the country faces today is lack of leaders who care for the common good, lamenting that “what we have are leech-like opportunists, who suck the life, freedoms and wealth out of the Filipino people out of pure and simple greed and self-interest.”
“Kung may maayos na plano ang Administrasyon na ito para sa ating bayan, hindi puro patayan, kalaswaan, murahan at pagganti ang aatupagin nito. Mas madalas pa nga n’yang iniisip at pinag-aaksayahan ng panahon ang pagpaplano ng rebolusyon sa sarili nyang gobyerno kaysa paglutas sa mga problema ng bayan,” she said. Considered as a leading prisoner of conscience, De Lima is detained at the police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City for trumped-up drug charges fabricated by the Duterte administration, borne out of Duterte’s personal vendetta against her.