De Lima on Duterte: I will ‘resist’ until ‘last pulse in my veins’

Camille Elemia
(UPDATED) 'It is something I will fight for, even die for, to prove that I am innocent,' says Senator Leila de Lima

'UNTIL MY LAST PULSE.' Senator Leila de Lima vows not to end her fight for human rights and democracy. Photo by Joel Liporada/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – There’s no stopping her until the “last pulse in her veins.”

Senator Leila de Lima, the fiercest critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, vowed she would not back down even if she would be sent to jail.

De Lima expressed her sentiments at a democracy forum in St Scholastica’s College in Manila.

Through the poem written by Samih Al Qassem entitled “Enemy of the Sun,” the senator vowed to continue “resisting” the ways of the administration until her last breath.

“You may take the last strip of my land,
Feed my youth to the prison cells,
You may plunder my heritage,
You may burn my books and my poems,
Or feed my flesh to the dogs,
You may spread a web of terror,
On the roofs of my village,
O enemy of the sun,
But, I shall not compromise,
And to the last pulse in my veins,
I shall resist.”

De Lima reiterated she would continue fulfilling her duty, as she does not want to give her critics the pleasure of seeing her “beaten.”

“Sa akin naman, makakaasa kayo ngayon at sa susunod pang taon, mananatiling tapat sa aking tungkulin, ikulong man ako o hindi. Gagawin ko ito ‘di bilang senador, kundi bilang isang ina at Pilipinong nagmamalasakit sa kapwa Pilipino,” she said.

(As for me, you can expect me to continue to fulfill my mandate, even if I get imprisoned or not. I will do this not as a senator but as a mother and Filipino who cares for other Filipinos.)

Duterte earlier said De Lima would surely go to jail for her alleged links to the illegal drug trade in the national penitentiary – the same subject of a House probe against the senator.

De Lima and Duterte had long been at odds over the issue of human rights. De Lima, then Commissioner on Human Rights, launched a probe into Duterte’s alleged involvement in the Davao Death Squad. She continued the investigation when she was justice secretary and recently launched a Senate probe into the spate of extrajudicial killings under the administration.

‘Join me in this fight’

De Lima called on the public to unite and fight for “truth, human rights, and democracy.”

“Sa abot ng ating makakaya, kapit bisig natin itaguyod ang lipunang pinapangarap natin para sa ating anak at pamilya. Join me in this fight,” De Lima said.

(To the best of our abilities, let’s unite and build the society that we are dreaming of for our children and family. Join me in this fight.)

“Ang hamon po sa bawat isa sa atin, iba-ibang sektor, manindigan para sa tama at sa makatuwiran. Hindi pa huli ang lahat para tayo ay sama-samang lumaban para sa dignidad, karapatang pantao, pangingibabaw ng batas, at pangingibabaw ng demokrasya,” she added.

(The challenge to everyone, to various sectors, is to stand up for what is right and just. It is not yet too late for us to join forces to fight for dignity, human rights, rule of law, and democracy.)

De Lima also urged Filipinos to act and speak out even if their views are “unpopular,” and even if there’s a chance, she said, that thousands of trolls and fake accounts would gang up on them as they did to her.

“This is a call to action. I fervently urge everyone – all concerned individuals, groups, institutions to stand up for truth, speak out against human rights abuses, and fight for democracy in our country,” she said.

“I still urge you to fight the good fight of our people, not just for this generation but also for the next generation to come.”

Will fight to death to prove innocence

Amid accusations against her, De Lima vowed she is ready to fight to death to prove her innocence. The truth, she claimed, is on her side.

“It is something I will fight for, even die for, to prove that I am innocent. I cannot stop because the truth is on my side,” she said.

De Lima then showed a video of the President cursing and urging her to just slash her throat.

There is no need for this, the senator said, as she herself already declared that she is willing to be killed if the allegations are proven.

“Didn’t I tell him myself that if all accusations are proven, I am willing to resign and be shot?” De Lima said.

De Lima has repeatedly denied her supposed links to illegal drugs. She maintained these are “fabricated” stories by the President and his men to retaliate for investigating the rise of summary killings. – Rappler.com