‘I don’t regret standing up to Duterte,’ says De Lima on 5th year in detention
MANILA, Philippines — Reelectionist Senator Leila de Lima on Thursday said she does not regret standing up against the “inhumane policies” of President Rodrigo Duterte as she marked her fifth year in detention.
In an open letter to the public, De Lima reiterates her willingness to endure challenges brought by her political persecution to fight “against injustice and protect the interests of the public.”
“Wala po akong pagsisisi. Handa akong indahin ang lahat ng persekusyon kung ito ang magiging papel ko sa ating bayan sa pagpapamulat na ang karapatang pantao ay para sa lahat, at ito ang pinakamataas na sagisag ng hustisya,” said the detained senator.
(I have no regrets. I am ready to endure all the persecution if this is my role in our country in raising awareness that human rights are for all, and that this is the highest symbol of justice.)
De Lima has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center inside Camp Crame in Quezon CIty since February 2017 over what she described as “trumped-up” drug charges against her. She was acquitted in one of the three drug cases she is facing.
The senator said her track record and service to the people has been clean since she was the chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, became a secretary of the Department of Justice, and was later elected as senator.
“Hindi ako nagnakaw sa bayan, hindi rin nagtaksil sa Konstitusyon, hindi umabuso sa mandato, at walang pagkukulang sa obligasyon sa buwis at pagsasapubliko ng SALN,” she added.
(I did not steal from the people, I did not betray the Constitution, I did not abuse the mandate. I paid my taxes and made my SALN public.)
“Ang puno’t dahilan lamang ng pagpapakulong sa akin: hindi ako nagpikit-mata sa extrajudicial killings at paggamit sa kapangyarihan ng Estado para abusuhin ang karapatang pantao. Ginawan ako ng imbentong mga kaso at pinag-initan ng nasa Palasyo,” she added.
(The cause of my imprisonment: I did not turn a blind eye to the extrajudicial killings and how the State made use of its power to abuse human rights. They then invented cases against me and became a target of the Palace.)
De Lima, who is campaigning for reelection in the 2022 elections, also admitted that being detained for the past five years is challenging both professionally and personally. She added that she draws strength from the people who continue fighting with her and for her.
“Sa eleksyong ito, muli akong tumatakbo para sa ikalawang termino sa Senado para ipagpatuloy ang magaganda nating nasimulan at itaguyod ang ating mga adbokasiya. Alam kong dehado ako dahil wala akong malaking makinarya higit sa aking mga staff at volunteers, at hindi rin personal na makakasama sa kampanya. Pero ibubuhos ko ang lahat ng makakaya sa labang ito,” De Lima assured.
(In this election, I am again running for a second term in the Senate to continue the good things we have started and advance our advocacies. I know I am at a disadvantage because I do not have much of a machinery other than my staff and the volunteers. I also cannot personally join the campaign. But I will put all that I can into this battle.)
Despite being detained, De Lima continues to speak out against injustices, human rights violations, and the other burning national issues through her handwritten statements.
She had also managed to fulfill her electoral mandate, having filed over 700 bills and resolutions.
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