Veteran journalist calls De Lima the ‘country’s conscience’


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Journalist John Nery has called Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima as the “country’s conscience” who continues to remind the public of the essence of being a Filipino through her handwritten statements from her detention quarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

During the episode of “Acronyms: Work from Prison” last June 29, Nery said De Lima serves as a reminder that a person can be superior to one’s misfortune, citing a quote from National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal saying, “we must prove to the Spaniards that we are superior to our misfortune.”

Gusto kong sabihin na para sa’kin, ‘yung papel ni Sen. Leila para siyang ‘konsensya ng bayan,’ tapos ‘yung 1,000 plus na dispatches, doon niya nilalabas ‘yung tamang mensahe, ‘yung mensahe ng konsensya ng bayan,” he said.

“She’s a conscience of our country because itong panahon ni Duterte, maraming marami tayong nakalimutan. Nakalimutan natin ano ba talaga ang tunay na Pilipino, ano ba talaga ang dapat gawin ng isang public official, ano ba ang tunay na halaga ng isang buhay, [I] think, through her dispatches, ipinapaalala niya sa atin ano ba talaga ‘yung ibig sabihin ng pagka-Pilipino, tunay na Pilipino,” he added.

Without access to any electronic gadget and communication device since her illegal arrest in Feb. 24, 2017, De Lima simply makes use of her pen and paper to regularly write and issue dispatches not only on social, economic and political issues but also on her reflections about her political persecution in the hands of the Duterte regime, and a few times, on personal and family matters.

As of this writing, De Lima has already issued 1090 Dispatches from Crame.

While De Lima’s dispatches help remind Filipino of who they are, Nery said that the dispatches also remind the Senator of “who she is.”

Kasi nademonized siya in the last four years by an orchestrated campaign… Yun ang masakit eh. In a way her dispatches remind us of who we are but also the dispatches remind her, herself of who she is,” Nery said.

Hindi lang siya consistent, mayroon ding growth sa kaniya kasi biruin mo, four years na siyang in prison. Ang ibig kong sabihin parang mas lalong lumalim ‘yung appreciation niya ng, for instance, political participation, nakikita mo ‘yun doon sa mga dispatches,” he added. In particular, Nery said he admires how De Lima has consistently called out the injustices under the Duterte regime, its ineptitude in COVID-19 pandemic response, and policy of subservience and surrender to China. (30)

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