De Lima to women: Don’t be silenced, cowed by misogynistic remarks

Jee Y. Geronimo
De Lima to women: Don’t be silenced, cowed by misogynistic remarks

LeAnne Jazul

In her speech read during the 1st Southeast Asian Women's Summit, Senator Leila de Lima says she stands for the power and potential of women to make a difference in the world

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday, November 8, urged women not to be afraid, and to stand up against everything that is evil, unjust, and oppressive.

In her speech that was read during the 1st Southeast Asian Women’s Summit in Miriam College, De Lima again slammed President Rodrigo Duterte, who she called “misogynistic” and a “psychopath.”

“Today marks my 258th day in detention – all because I dared to earn the ire of a psychopath and misogynistic President who bragged in public that he will make me rot in jail and that I should hang myself because ‘the innermost of [my] core as a female is being serialized everyday’,” she said.

De Lima said she stood up against the Duterte administration’s controversial campaign against illegal drugs, even at the expense of her personal freedom, because she believes children whose parents were killed in the drug war should have a bright future ahead of them.

“This is the very reason why I have been standing up for what is just and right, even though I know that political power is not on my side. Despite continued vilification and persecution, I will never be cowed into silence. They cannot break my spirit,” the senator explained.

She added: “The growing clamor for accountability and our collective determination as a people will ensure that justice will catch up with this crooked policy of the Duterte regime.”

De Lima said that as a lawyer, she followed the footsteps of her father who instilled in her the lesson that “women can be just as good as any man, and even better.”

“As a woman, we should not allow ourselves to be silenced or be cowed by misogynistic remarks. This is not our fight alone, but fight for our children and their future,” she urged women during Wednesday’s summit.

De Lima also that she stands for the power and potential of women to make a difference in the world, and that she does not accept that society’s glorification of “male machismo” is an excuse for the so-called “male locker room” behavior.

“Misogyny and sociopathy aren’t the hallmarks of a strong man or a decisive leader, but of a sick mind. We should know the difference by now,” she noted.

Women in public office

She encouraged women to work together in realizing their “respective and collective potentials, especially in areas where more work needs to be done.”

“If we are to be faithful to the principles of inclusive democracy, non-discriminatory access to electoral processes including the right to serve in elective offices, then we must protect fellow women from violence and discrimination that create barriers if not hamper their sworn duty as public servant,” the senator noted.

De Lima said women in public offices should also support each other to “rightfully claim our duties and push back tokenism” in appointments to government offices and within institutions.

“For we do not become gender-equal by having a woman physically sit or in theory be present as a member in inquiries for instance and not allowing her voice to be heard,” she added.

De Lima also mentioned the Supreme Court’s recent decision against her, saying that it “legitimizes oppression and political persecution by the State.” (READ: De Lima appeals SC decision on drug cases)

The senator is currently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center over drug charges she claimed to be administration harassment.

Even in detention, she has continued to be one of Duterte’s fiercest critics and has remained vocal against the ongoing drug war. –

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Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.