De Lima writes to Biden, says his triumph over Trump a ‘beacon’ for PH democracy
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Leila de Lima called a “beacon” for Philippine democracy the victory of US President-elect Joe Biden against exiting President Donald Trump, whose leadership the senator likened to that of President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a personal letter De Lima sent to Biden on Nov. 18, the detained senator extended her respect and admiration to him following his electoral triumph.
“We closely follow your words and speeches and find them speaking to us also. As you know, President Duterte is cut out from the same cloth as President Trump in their politics of lies, hate, and demonization, as well as in their cornucopia of insanities in between,” she wrote.
“President Trump’s inexplicable inaction on COVID-19 cost the lives of about 250 thousand Americans; President Duterte’s drug war has killed tens of thousands of mostly poor Filipino civilians, innocent human rights defenders, and journalists,” the senator, one of Duterte fiercest critics, added.
The opposition senator, who claims to be a victim of political persecution, has been in detention since February 2017 for what she claimed were trumped-up drug charges by Duterte administration.
Last January, the US Senate approved a resolution calling on the White House to impose sanctions on Philippine government officials responsible for extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, as well as the arrest and detention of de Lima.
The US Senate Resolution No. 142 invoked the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which allows the United States to impose sanctions on foreign officials implicated in human rights abuses.
‘A return to democratic normalcy’
De Lima also told Biden that his election win “signaled a return to democratic normalcy and rule of law” in the US.
“We are jubilant in your remarkable triumph in this election to save America’s democracy, as it is also a beacon for our own democracy here in the Philippines. At last, a Democrat gentleman, a capable leader, and a man of faith will again be leading the free world from the White House,” she said.
“Your victory has already restored the faith and confidence of the American people and the community of nations in democracy, and we believe that your presidency will guide and inspire us on how to reclaim our own democracy from hereon to 2022 when we also elect a new leader for our nation,” she added.
Biden is the 46th President-elect of the US after defeating incumbent Trump in the recent 2020 US presidential election. He also served as Barack Obama’s vice president from 2008 to 2016.
De Lima sent her best wishes to Biden, ending her letter with “God bless you, Mr. President!” – Miggy Dumlao, trainee
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