De Lima, the only Filipino on the list, said she is deeply humbled and grateful that the magazine “saw through the lies” of President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration.
“I am grateful that Fortune magazine saw through the lies of this administration and recognized my work aimed at putting an end to the abuses happening under Duterte’s ruthless and obviously anti-poor campaign on illegal drugs,” De Lima said in a statement on Saturday, April 21.
Fortune ranked De Lima 39th on its annual list released on Thursday, April 19.
De Lima is currently jailed at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center over alleged drug trafficking, which she claims are fabrications.
“Duterte and his henchmen may be successful in keeping me illegally detained but they failed to suppress my spirit and silence me, especially on matters of justice, democracy and human rights,” she added.
The magazine noted that the recognition is given to “thinkers, speakers, and doers who are stepping up to meet today’s challenges” and driving changes across the globe.
The entry on De Lima read: “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.”
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)
Earlier, De Lima was also recognized by the magazine Foreign Policy, Time Magazine, and Amnesty International, among others
Aside from De Lima, the list also includes South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Chinese Premier Liu He, French President Emmanuel Macron, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Bandung, Indonesia Mayor Ridwan Kamil, among others. – Rappler.com