MANILA, Philippines – Detained Senator Leila de Lima has landed a spot in Fortune Magazine’s list of 50 “greatest leaders” in the world for 2018.
Called “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders,” the annual list, vetted by Fortune editors, represent “thinkers, speakers, and doers who are stepping up to meet today’s challenges,” the New York-based business magazine said in a report released on Thursday, April 19.
The Philippine senator, a fierce critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and alleged human rights abuses in his campaign against illegal drugs, ranked 39th.
“President Rodrigo Duterte’s hard-line policies against drug dealers are polarizing globally, but in the Philippines they’ve faced little dissent. De Lima, who headed a committee investigating hundreds of extrajudicial killings under Duterte’s leadership, has been a noble exception,” Fortune said in its write-up on De Lima.
It added that while De Lima has been in jail “for as-yet-untried crimes” since February 2017, “imprisonment hasn’t stopped the firebrand from continuing to speak out publicly.” (READ: From power to prison: How 2017 changed the life of Leila de Lima)
Through handwritten dispatches from her jail cell sent to the media, De Lima has continued to criticize the Duterte administration and its campaign against drugs, which has killed thousands of people in less than two years.
With fellow opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, De Lima pushed for the dismissal of the quo warranto petition against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, saying the Senate has “exclusive jurisdiction” on the matter.
Various groups at home and abroad have repeatedly called for De Lima’s release, describing her as a political prisoner who was being silenced because of her criticism of Duterte.
The senator is the only one from the Philippines, and among the 8 incumbent and former government officials from around the world, who made it to the list.
The others are South Korean President Moon Jae-in (4), Chinese Premier Liu He (10), French President Emmanuel Macron (13), former Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett (25), New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (28), New Zealand Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern (29), and Bandung, Indonesia Mayor Ridwan Kamil (48).
“The Students” topped the list, referring to students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas and other schools who spoke up against gun violence in the wake of the shooting incident in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed.
“It will be due to 11th-graders like Cameron Kasky, who along with Stoneman Douglas classmates Jaclyn Corin and Alex Wind launched the #NeverAgain crusade and helped plan the historic rally in Washington, which was mirrored by gatherings around the world,” Fortune said.
Bill and Melinda Gates, co-founders of the Gates Foundation, came in second, while the #MeToo Movement was third. – Rappler.com