On her 5th year in detention, De Lima urges public to be critical in electing public officials
Senator Leila de Lima spent her fifth year in detention on Thursday urging Filipinos to exercise their right to vote and be critical in electing public officials in Eleksyon 2022.
De Lima, seeking reelection in the May 9, 2022 national polls, said she will continue her human rights advocacies despite being in detention.
“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,” she said in a statement.
(I know that I do not have a big machinery other than my staff and volunteers, nor could I personally be involved with the campaign. But I will pour all my strength into this battle.)
“Huwag sanang ipanakaw pa ang nag-iisa at sagrado ninyong boto. Gamitin ninyong sandata panlaban sa mga tiwali at korap ang inyong kapangyarihan sa Mayo, gaya din kung paano pinapahalagahan ng isang magulang ang kinabukasan ng kanyang mga anak,” she added.
(Please do not let your only and sacred vote be stolen by other people. Use your power against the corrupt officials in the coming May elections, just like a parent who values the future of his or her children.)
The senator then encouraged the public to be critical and not be blinded by propaganda and unscrupulous platforms of the candidates.
“Kaya lumahok kayo sa eleksyon. Hindi reklamo ang paghahanap ng pananagutan sa gobyerno at nakaupo sa puwesto. Iyan ay pakikilahok sa demokrasya. Maraming proyekto ang nababantayan at pondo ang napoprotektahan para makarating sa tunay na nangangailangan kapag buhay ang demokrasya,” De Lima said.
(Participate in the elections. Seeking accountability from the government and officials is not mere complaining. That is participation in democracy. Many government projects and funds will be protected and reach the intended beneficiaries if democracy is at work.)
“Sana diyan sa labas, hindi kayo mabulag ng propaganda, huwad na pagkakaisa, platapormang walang prinsipyo, at mga pangako ng mga taong walang matinong track record. Huwag bumoto ng korap at magnanakaw. Manindigan kayo para sa inyong boto,” she added.
(Hopefully, you won’t be blinded by propaganda, false unity, unprincipled platforms, and promises of people without a sensible track record. Do not vote corrupt people and thieves. Stand up for your vote.)
De Lima has been held at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Quezon City since February 2017 for alleged proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison during her tenure as justice secretary.
She has consistently denied the allegations, saying these were made up by the Duterte administration.
“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,” she added.
(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 this is the highest symbol of justice.)
“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 public funds, and I did not betray the Constitution. I did not abuse my mandate, and I was not remiss in my obligation in paying my taxes and making my wealth statement public.)
Prior to being elected senator, De Lima has served as chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights and Secretary of the Department of Justice.
“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 only reason I was detained is because I refuse to turn blind on extra judicial killings.)
Call for De Lima’s release
Senatorial candidate and Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares has joined the call to release the detained senator and drop charges against her.
Colmenares underscored that her case is political persecution at its “worst”, noting that the “whole state machinery used to vilify and degrade her stature as a senator and human being.”
“De Lima's crime was remaining true to her duty. She ensured that the Commission on Human Rights and the Senate fulfilled its mandate of checks and balances to ensure that the government was fulfilling its duty of respecting the rights of every individual,” he said in a statement.
“Her case, along with that of other political prisoners, is a total waste of public resources. Instead of building cases against real criminals, our prosecutors and judges are forced to hear trumped-up charges that only congest the judicial system and delay the delivery of justice,” he added.
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) earlier urged the presidential candidates in Eleksyon 2022 to pledge to drop all charges against De Lima, noting that it exemplifies the “lawlessness and cruelty” of the current administration.
Meanwhile, De Lima expressed gratitude to those who appealed for her release and support during her years in detention.— with Llanesca T. Panti/AOL/RSJ, GMA News