De Lima thanks Pope for rosary
Pope Francis has sent Sen. Leila de Lima a rosary as well as assurance that he was praying for her and the country amid the Duterte administration’s bloody war on drugs.
De Lima, detained on drug charges she said were made up by the administration, disclosed the Pontiff’s gift during a Mass on Sunday at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame in Quezon City.
She said the rosary and prayers offered by the Pope came after she wrote him in August to request prayers for her.
“I cannot thank Pope Francis enough for his thoughtfulness. I’m deeply, deeply touched by the Pope’s gesture. This gift will constantly remind me that, despite the political persecution I am experiencing right now at the hands of a vengeful President, I should keep the faith and fight tirelessly for the welfare of the Filipino people,” she said.
Praying for me
In a statement, De Lima said the PNP chaplain personally handed her the beautiful rosary from Pope Francis as well as the latter’s message coursed through the Papal Nuncio.
“According to the Chaplain, Pope Francis was able to read my letter and assured that he is praying for me,” the senator said.
De Lima said she wrote Pope Francis to ask him “to offer a prayer for her and her beloved countrymen who are suffering from abuses and injustices since [President] Duterte launched his government’s all-out war on drugs.”
“Papa Francesco, if I may be granted one wish, I hope that you will say a prayer for me and the Filipino people. Please bless me so I can have the strength to continue the fight against the injustice that is happening not only to me, but to thousands of Filipinos who are victims of extrajudicial killing,” she said in a letter dated Aug. 15 and written in Spanish.
She added that she did not know when she would regain her freedom. “Only faith sustains me through this nightmare. Please include me and the Philippines in your prayers.”
De Lima sent the letter two days before her 58th birthday.
She introduced herself to the Pope as “a senator from the Philippines and a political prisoner who has been incarcerated for the past 173 days, by President Rodrigo Duterte.”
The senator has been detained at Camp Crame since February this year. —Christine O. Avendaño
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