On Foreign Policy’s Leading Global Thinkers Awarding Ceremony


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Washington D.C., USA

12 December 2017

Good evening. I’m Leila de Lima, senator of the Republic of the Philippines. I’m also a lawyer by training and profession. I used to head the Commission on Human Rights during the time of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and subsequently, I was appointed Justice Secretary of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

I am perhaps, most well known today for having invited upon myself the vendetta of the current President Rodrigo Duterte. It is when I investigated the rampant killings in his city, Davao City, attributed to the so-called Davao Death Squad. And now as a senator, I initiated a Senate inquiry into the spate of extrajudicial killings which is targeting only poor and ordinary, small-time suspected drug pushers and drug users; while conspicuously, big-time drug lords are being spared or are being allowed to avail justice.

And as the most outspoken critic of President Duterte, I am probably the most controversial and the most maligned, or demonized public figure in our country today. But I shall keep fighting the good fight.

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
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