MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday, December 25, said she wished for freedom as she spends her 3rd Christmas in jail since her arrest in 2017.
“I hope that this is my last Christmas in detention so that my normal life as a mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and as a duly-elected Senator be now restored,” she said in a statement.
De Lima, a fierce critic of the President Rodrigo Duterte, has been imprisoned since February 2017 over drug charges.
While De Lima is able to fulfil her responsibilities as senator while detained, she cannot vote on measures nor conduct hearings as she is physically unable to go to the Senate.
“I’m raring to work fully and assiduously as a fiscalizing minority senator and focus on my chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development,” De Lima said.
Since being detained, De Lima has asserted that allegations against her were fabricated by the government in retaliation over her opposition of Duterte’s violent policies, including the bloody anti-illegal drug campaigns. (READ: Premedidated murder: The character assassination of Leila de Lima)
Various local and international groups have called for her release from “unlawful” detention amid rampant human rights violations in the Philippines.
On December 20, US President Donald Trump signed into law the 2020 budget which included a provision that denies entry to those involved in the detention of De Lima.
De Lima said that this development in the US shows that “impunity cannot last” and that justice will catch up on those responsible for human rights violations.
“Despite the struggles Filipinos continue to endure under an anti-human rights government, I hope that we can all remain optimistic that better days are coming if we choose to fight for what is right,” De Lima added. – Rappler.com