Ahead of Christmas Day, leaders of Makabayan Bloc, Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) and Tindig Pilipinas have extended their solidarity with Sen. Leila M. de Lima by visiting her at her detention quarters in Crame Crame, Quezon City.
In their separate visits, the three groups also expressed their support to the recent US Senate Resolution (SR) No. 142 calling on the Philippine government to free De Lima and drop all politically motivated charges against her.
The members of Makabayan and MAT, who visited De Lima last Dec. 13, said the government should heed the call to release De Lima from unjust detention immediately because the drug cases filed against her are baseless.
“Narito ang Makabayan bloc para magpakita ng pakikiisa at suporta kay Senator Leila de Lima. [N]ananawagan po tayo sa kagyat na pagpapalaya sa kanya, pagbasura sa mga trumped-up o imbentong kaso laban sa kanya, pagpapalaya kay Senator De Lima, at pagpapalaya sa lahat ng political prisoners,” said former Rep. Antonio Tinio of ACT Teachers Partylist.
“Ang pagbisita po na ito ng mga kabataan ay bilang pakikiisa sa panawagan na palayain ang lahat ng mga political prisoners at itigil na ang panggigipit at pagpapakulong, pagsampa ng mga gawa-gawang kaso sa mga kritiko at mga miyembro ng oposisyon,” added Rep. Sarah Elago of Kabataan Partylist.
Former Rep. Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis Partylist pointed out that their support for the former justice secretary goes beyond political affiliations and should not be seen as a mere move to attack the present administration.
“Ang oposisyon ay maraming kulay – pula, dilaw, ano pa mang kulay. This is not about political color. This is about how we unite to oppose a tyrannical government,” said Casilao.
Other leaders of Makabayan and MAT who visited De Lima were former Rep. Satur Ocampo (Bayan Muna Partylist), Rep. France Castro (ACT Teachers Partylist), Cristina Palabay (Sec. Gen., Karapatan), Atty. Edre Olalia (President, NUPL), and Jigs Clamor (Karapatan).
Meanwhile, Tindig Pilipinas convenors led by former Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV and former Social Welfare and Development Sec. Dinky Soliman expressed their admiration for De Lima’s positive spirit and indomitable will amid her ordeal when they visited her in her detention last Dec. 15.
Trillanes heaped praises on De Lima’s optimism, saying, “kami ay natutuwa na she’s still in high spirits. At maraming kuwento siya, at maraming nangyari na positive, kaya we wish her a Merry Christmas. We look forward to a positive year ahead.”
Soliman, for her part, said she believes that De Lima gets her strength from the unwavering support she is receiving from local and international defenders of human rights.
“Nakakakuha siya ng lakas sa maraming suporta ng mga tao, lalong-lalo na yung desisyon ng Global Magnitsky, na ang mga Senador [mula US] ay nagkaisa para alisin ang visa ng mga tao,” said Soliman.
Aside from Trillanes and Soliman, De Lima’s visitors from Tindig Pilipinas include Imelda Nicolas, Ana Borbe, Atty. Norma de Leon, Atty. Aleta Tolentino, Nanette Aldrine and Boyet Orongan.
US Senate Resolution No. 142, primarily authored by Senators Marco Rubio and Edward Markey, adopted amendments introduced by Sen. Benjamin Cardin that involved the call for US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions under the Magnitsky Act to government officials responsible for “orchestrating” De Lima’s arrest and prolonged detention.
The bipartisan resolution was passed by all 21 bipartisan committee members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee last Dec. 11. (30)