Exemplify courage in resisting gov’t abuses – De Lima


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In these times when dissent is silenced and the culture of impunity is glorified by the Duterte regime, Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima said Filipinos are expected to always exemplify courage in resisting human rights abuses in the country.

In her message read during the recent launching of the book entitled “Courage” authored by Professor Ed Garcia, De Lima urged the public to show Duterte and his minions that they will not be cowed by despotism.

“We need to be brave to speak to one another, to speak for ourselves and to speak for our nation. We also need to enlighten others who may have been blinded by a leader who has done nothing except to encourage killings [and] strike a deal with convicted drug lords to imprison his staunch critic…” she said.

“Kailangan nating ipakita na hindi tayo kagaya niya at ng kanyang mga kaalyado at alipores na puro salita lang at pangako. Lalong walang mangyayari kung magwawalang kibo lang tayo sa mga lantarang kamalian at pag-abuso. Ipakita natin ang tunay na tapang at giting ng Pilipino,” she added.

The launching of the book–which De Lima said contains meaningful lessons in life–was held at the Ateneo de Manila University in May 22.

Drawing from her own experience, De Lima shared that the courage which was instilled in her early years largely through her father’s teachings helped her in her personal and professional life.

“It is the same courage that has guided me as a mother, lawyer, human rights defender, former Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights where I had the opportunity to work with Prof. Ed, and as former Secretary of Justice,” she said.

“As Senator, I remain committed in my advocacies to protect human rights, uphold the rule of law, and strengthen our criminal justice system,” she added.

Despite being a neophyte lawmaker, De Lima stood her ground and vehemently opposed the spate of extrajudicial killings in the country, which earned the ire of President Duterte.

“I was stripped off of my Committee Chairmanship, became the victim of massive black propaganda, of unrelenting, vicious, malicious, and misogynistic attacks aimed at discrediting and tainting my integrity and credibility, and detained based on trumped-up charges. Despite all these, I continued to speak truth to power, even when it cost me my own freedom,” she recalled.

As a prisoner of conscience of the Duterte regime, De Lima said she has learned that she needed to muster more strength and a different kind of fortitude to carry on with her advocacies.

“I admit: I found myself searching for more courage to overcome the deep sorrow of being separated from my family, and to continue fighting for my freedom and justice despite my detention and physical isolation,” she said.

“I fortunately found this in my renewed faith in God, and in the outpouring of love from my family and supporters–sa mga kababayan nating naninindigan para itama ang mali, at ipagtanggol ang ating mga karapatan,” she added.

De Lima maintained she continues to have faith in the Filipino with high hopes that they will remain united and fight hand in hand to triumph over despotic government.

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