Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has vowed that the united opposition would not waver on its firm resolve to stand up and fight the second phase of the Duterte administration’s authoritarianism despite the results of the recent midterm elections.
De Lima, a human rights and social justice champion, said that while the united opposition leaders may have suffered a huge loss in the recently-concluded midterm elections, it is never an option for them to give up on what they are fighting for.
“Yes, it is another setback. Yes, this is no ordinary loss. But with loss comes the opportunity to learn. And we won’t learn anything if we let ourselves wallow in disappointment or give in to hopelessness,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 519.
“This loss was hard. Painful. But we should not give up. Because this fight is perhaps the most important fight of our entire history as a nation. We are fighting for our future, our children’s future. We are fighting for our soul as a nation,” she added.
De Lima earlier described Duterte administration’s second phase as “terrible and frightening” due to its plan for Charter change, a bloodier war on drugs, and the total capitulation of the country to China.
She also added that she dreads an unmitigated and unchecked corruption and abuse of power in the Duterte administration, and more repression of the opposition, critics, and pro-democracy forces and human rights defenders.
The former justice secretary admitted that there is no one to blame for Otso Diretso’s electoral defeat as she maintained that now is not the time to give up and easily surrender the future of the younger generations to oppressors.
“We live to fight another day. A long tough fight it is. But we will not give up,” she emphasized.
De Lima also clarified she is not disappointed at the candidates of Otso Diretso for their electoral defeat, maintaining that it was the loss of the Filipinos who missed to choose leaders who offered to serve the Filipino people’s interests with no reservations.
“They may have won no seats, but that is not their loss. It is our loss. We had a chance to elect brave, competent, independent-minded and compassionate people, who understood and were committed to the true meaning of ‘public service’, but we, as a nation, turned their offer down,” she said.
“There will be no playing the blame game. There will, nevertheless, be a lot of reflection, a heightened resolve and, above all, the opening up of avenues of communications,” she added.
De Lima rooted for opposition candidates Sen. Bam Aquino, Rep. Gary Alejano, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, civic leader Sam Gutoc, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, election lawyer Romy Macalintal, former senator Mar Roxas and ex-Rep. Erin Tanada. De Lima, a former election lawyer before she entered government service, has since maintained that the fight for truth, justice and good governance does not end after the 2019 midterm polls.