On 2nd year in unjust detention, De Lima releases 2nd book of dispatches

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Marking her second year in detention tomorrow (Feb. 24), Senator Leila M. de Lima is releasing her second book of dispatches which offers a collection of her official positions and policy statements on pressing national issues affecting the country.

In her latest book entitled “Dispatches from Crame II: Faith Hope & Love,” De Lima said she hopes to inspire the Filipino people that no amount of physical restriction can deny her of her freedom to think and defend what she thinks is right and just.

“Very soon after my arrest, I started writing. Thoughts, reactions, personal reflections, calls to action to my fellow Filipinos, rallying cries for my fellow defenders of human rights and democracy and, hopefully, humble beacons of hope and inspiration for those (who are) suffering oppression or are otherwise in need of it–writings that eventually became known as ‘Dispatches from Crame,'” she wrote in the Preface.

“I am blessed because I am only a prisoner in the sense of being a prisoner of conscience who is being subjected to unjust physical restrictions. Yet, in every other sense of the word, I am freer than I have ever been. [T]he key to my freedom lies not in the hands of my captors. It lies in the pen I hold in my hands,” she added.

The 2nd book of dispatches covers a wide array of topics from human rights and the struggles of human rights defenders in the country to accountability, people’s right to suffrage and choosing worthy leaders, press freedom, and how is it to be a political prisoner under the Duterte regime.

Among the dispatches included in the book are “Appeal to first-time voters,” “On the filing of a quo warranto case against the Chief Justice,” “Naked tyranny, rape of justice,” “Oposisyon Koalisyon and the conspiracy of hope,” “To the President’s defenders and enforcers,” “Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender,” and “Denial of a mother’s plea to be with her son in his graduation,” among others.

It is the second time for De Lima to release a compilation of her selected dispatches and the third time for her to publish a book while in detention.

Her 1st book “Dispatches from Crame I” also contains a selection of several handwritten statements from her detention, while the next after it entitled “Fight for Freedom and Other Writings” contains a collection of writings, speeches, letters and notes about the lady Senator and her quest for freedom.

The “Dispatches from Crame II: Faith Hope & Love” carries a foreword written by blogger Joe America who claimed that De Lima and him are kindred spirits who “share the idea of a strong, healthy, good-thinking, well-behaving, prosperous Philippines.”

“What do an anonymous blogger and an unjustly jailed Senator have in common? An appreciation of language, a respect for words, and a belief that, lined up well, these words can generate ideas that can be both elegant and useful…and improve our lives, Joe America wrote.

“We readers are privileged, thanks to her writings. We get to stand beside her and understand the full meaning of what it is like to have one’s freedoms stolen. Thanks to her writings, we are witnesses both to her frustrations and to the hopes, new ideas, and strong ideals that emerge from the tip of her pen,” added the blogger.

Aside from De Lima’s dispatches, the book also contains special pages of the Opinion of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention which maintains that De Lima’s arrest is arbitrary and violates various provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

It also includes a long list of the legislative measures she filed in the Senate under the 17th Congress (142 bills and 146 resolutions), 236 of which were drafted while in detention – or 113 bills and 123 resolutions. De Lima said she believes that her new book may ultimately speak of the challenges the nation is facing under the tyrannical rule of Mr. Duterte, and promote the values of hope, perseverance and courage amid her predicament.

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