Artists, activists, political leaders and other cause-oriented groups and prominent personalities have expressed solidarity with Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima’s continued fight for justice and freedom by participating in an online jamming held on her fourth year in unjust detention last Feb. 24.
The roughly four-hour online concert, entitled “Leilaya! Mga Tinig at Himig ng Paglaya,” saw local and international personalities unite through music, poetry, interpretative reading, and messages of solidarity.
Netizens witnessed great musical performances from Ebe Dancel (“Lakambini”), Pochoy Labog (“Inosenteng Bala”), Bituin Escalante (“Bayan Ko”), Noel Cabangon (“Tungo sa Pagbabago”), as well as heartfelt live musical show from Bayang Barrios, Cooky Chua and Gary Granada (songs including “Iisa”, “Paano Mahalin Ang Tulad Mo”).
“We are with you. I pray for justice and your health. Please take good care of your health,” Dancel said before performing.
The artists were joined by government personalities including Vice President Leni Robredo, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Risa Hontiveros and Kiko Pangilinan and Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Chito Gascon.
Robredo said De Lima continue to inspire many people to be braver and more resolute “in fighting for causes bigger than ourselves” while Drilon said he admires the former justice secretary for being “strong and unyielding.”
“Ang laban mo ay laban din ng bawat isa sa amin. Laban ito ng bawat isang Pilipino na naniniwala sa karapatan, kalayaan, at dignidad ng bawat tao; ng bawat isang mamamayan na nagtitiwalang lagi nilang maaasahan ang batas na panigan kung ano ang tama, mabuti, at makatarungan,” said Robredo.
“Leila, know that we are always behind you. Your fight is our fight. Justice is on your side. We miss you Senator Leila. Free Leila Now,” said Drilon.
Hontiveros praised De Lima for being “defiant in the face of injustice” while Pangilinan said that “noon pa man, hanggang ngayon ay naniniwala tayo na gawa-gawa lang ang mga kasong sinampa laban kay Leila.”
For Chair Gascon, he said that while persecutors tried to hold De Lima’s indomitable spirit against her will, that spirit, that will, in her cause, is more powerful than their brute force.
“While they have tried to silence you, they have failed and will continue to fail,” Gascon said.
Former Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Bam Aquino and Mar Roxas also gave their messages of solidarity for De Lima.
Trillanes said De Lima’s sacrifice is a symbol of injustice and persecution under the Duterte regime while Aquino said he is certain that the lady Senator will never give up amid the challenges she is facing. Roxas, for his part, thanked De Lima “for loving our country and our people.”
Several international leaders also read their messages of support for the Senator. They include, among others, Taiwan MP and Foreign Affairs Director Dr. Lo Chi-Chen, Cambodian opposition leader Mu Sochua, and Irwin Cotler, Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights.
Aside from messages of solidarity, there were also poetry readings by Joel Lamangan (“Tula Ni Eman Lacaba”), Agot Isodro (“Marcela”), Pinky Amador (“”I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”), and Serge Gabriel (“Hold Your Sign Up”), among others.
Additionally, Angel Aquino read De Lima’s Dispatch from Crame highlighting why she will never give up her fight for justice while former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno offered a prayer for the Senator and the country.
The online jamming, organized in partnership with the Free Leila de Lima Movement (FLM) and the Committee for the Freedom of Leila M. de Lima (Free Leila Committee), was hosted by Macoy Dubs and Miss Mela Habijan.
De Lima, known as the most prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, was recently acquitted in one of her three trumped-up drug cases. She has consistently and firmly maintained her innocence of all these cases. (30)