MANILA, Philippines – Senator Leila de Lima met with her family over the weekend, as she expects the "worst" with her supposed impending arrest.
De Lima said she held a lunch for her two brothers, sister, and younger son Vincent to psychologically prepare them for her arrest, which she expects anytime soon.
She intentionally did not include her 83-year-old mother and her son Israel, who has a special condition, in the meeting.
"I already said goodbye to my family. Of course, [it was] very sad with tears. I held a lunch with my brothers and sister, son Vincent. My son Israel, I did not ask him to come since he is with his father. My special child is Israel. My mom was there but I did not include her in the meeting, I don't want my mom to know about these things. She's already 83 years old," De Lima told reporters in a mix of English and Filipino on Tuesday, February 14.
The senator told her family that her arrest is "imminent," and that she does not want them caught off guard when it happens.
"I told them it's imminent na baka nga tuluyan na ako ipa-aresto, ifa-file na 'yung information possibly with the regular courts. Kung 'di maagapan ng TRO (temporary restraining order) na hinihingi ko then prepare yourself for this scenario," De Lima said.
(I told them that my arrest is imminent, that the information would be filed with the regular courts. If I don't get a TRO, then I told them to prepare themselves for this scenario.)
As for her family's reaction, the senator said: "So siyempre malungkot sila (Of course, they were sad). I want them to be psychologically prepared. Ayaw kong mabibigla sila, na 'di nila alam ang gagawin (I don't want them to be surprised that they won't know what to do). That's why I did that."
Packed bags, books
De Lima has already talked with her staff in the Senate. She met them on Friday, February 10, and told them of the current situation.
"Sinabi ko na rin sa kanila. I want everyone to be prepared. Sabi ko nga ayoko makakita umiiyak. Papagalitan ko ang umiyak," she said.
(I already told them about it. I want everyone to be prepared. I told my staff that I don't want to see them crying. I will get mad.)
She recalled some of her staff asking her if it's okay to cry. De Lima said in jest: "Hindi bawal umiyak. Huwag lang kayong magpapakita sa akin." (It's not prohibited to cry. Just don't show yourselves to me.)
De Lima is also packing for her expected stay in a detention facility. She said she has prepared one suitcase filled with comfortable clothes.
"Pine-prepare ko na. Magdadala muna ako ng isang maleta. Isang bag pa lang, anyway linggo-linggo naman, papauwi ko 'yung mga baro, 'di naman ako naglalaba ng baro ko," De Lima said.
(I am preparing already. I will just bring one suitcase, anyway I can send my dirty clothes home every week since I don't wash my clothes.)
If there's one thing she's looking forward to once in detention, it's that she would have the time to read more books.
"Isa talaga sa pinakaplano ko ay I would have more time to read books. So naka-prepare na rin 'yun. Of course, bawal gadgets," she added.
(That's really one of my plans, that I would have more time to read books. So that's already prepared. Of course, gadgets are not allowed.)
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has repeatedly said the Department of Justice (DOJ) resolution on De Lima's cases would be out not later than this week. Aguirre also earlier said the arrest warrant against De Lima would be out "anytime" soon, but denied the DOJ is rushing its issuance. – Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email firstname.lastname@example.org