Amid her confinement in the isolated quarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City for more than two years now, Senator Leila M. de Lima has vowed to preserve her dignity as a Filipino and a duly-elected legislator by continuing to fight for her principles.
De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte administration, made her pledge as she shared a personal reflection in a handwritten statement she issued from her detention last Oct. 20.
“My reflection: In my current life of constant diminishment from my oppressors, preserving my dignity is my foremost goal,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 628.
“Apart from hope, dignity is all I have… It’s one thing I cannot do without, one thing I will hold on to, no matter what…” the former justice secretary added.
As the staunchest critic of the Duterte adminstration’s crooked policies, notably its bloody war on drugs, De Lima’s freedom was the price she had to pay for standing up against and defying Mr. Duterte and his abusive minions.
While she has maintained a good record without any traces of corruption or abuse of power, De Lima has still become a consistent target of fake news and troll messages, ranging from drug and corruption allegations to attacks on her personhood and health.
In discussing dignity, De Lima shared that she is currently inspired by the book “Unbroken” written by an award-winning American author Laura Hillenbrand as it reminds her to keep on fighting and staying strong amid her ordeal.
“An extraordinary novel I’m currently hooked reading is Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken,” a World War II true story of survival, resilience and redemption. Agonizingly tortuous yet inspiring,” she said.
The lady Senator from Bicol further shared some of the lines from the book, which she described as “most profound and deeply stirring.”
“Dignity…This self-respect and sense of self-worth, the innermost armament of the soul, lies at the heart of humanness, to be deprived of it is to be dehumanized…without dignity, identity is erased,” she quoted.
“Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food and oxygen. The stubborn retention of it, even in the face of extreme physical hardship, can hold a man’s soul in his body long past the point at which the body should have surrendered it…degradation could be as lethal as a bullet,” she added.
Known as a prisoner of conscience, De Lima has consistently maintained that no amount of lies by political manipulators and even paid trolls could erase her innocence from all trumped-up illegal drug charges filed against her by the present government. (30)