De Lima confirms Senate run
JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima in a brief text message to reporters Monday announced she would run for senator under the administration’s Liberal Party in next year’s elections and would quit her post on Oct. 12.
“Yes, I’m running for Senate,” she said.
In a television interview, also Monday, De Lima said that in her last days in office she would be speaking with Prosecutor General Claro Arellano “to follow up the big cases and discuss the timetable for the [their] resolution.”
Among the unresolved cases is the illegal detention and harassment cases filed against leaders of the influential sect Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), whose members are known as bloc voters during elections.
Asked if she would seek support from the sect, she said she would leave it up to INC but added, “I would mull over it, think about it, but I’d rather run my campaign on a very high moral ground.”
De Lima said she had recommended to President Aquino her replacement. “I have endorsed someone and it so happened, he is also the choice of the President but I would not disclose the details since I do not want to preempt the President,” she said.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa is rumored to be the next justice secretary.
De Lima said he was initially hesitant about running for public office, adding that her father, the late Election Commissioner Vicente de Lima, even discouraged her from going into politics. She said a “very small circle of friends” kept pushing her to run.
She said recent surveys showed her within the top 12 “senatoriables.”
“I’m a no-name in politics so I’m heartened by my strong showing in the surveys. I wouldn’t join this if I don’t have a fighting chance though I don’t have a political base, my only political base, if you can call that a political base, is my face, my persona,” she said.
It elected, she said her main advocacies would be electoral reform, human rights and reforms in the judiciary, especially in the criminal justice system.
De Lima was an election lawyer before being appointed Commission on Human Rights chair in 2008. She was appointed justice secretary in 2010.