MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Monday, July 20, she will announce her decision whether to seek a Senate seat on August 27, her birthday.
She set the date for the much-awaited declaration on the same day that a group of volunteers launched a campaign to convince her to run in the 2016 elections.
One thing that’s keeping the justice secretary from finalizing a decision, despite feelers sent to her by officials of the Liberal Party and other groups, is that she is admittedly scared of politics.
In a text message to reporters, De Lima confessed that she was wary of the pressure and the expected mudslinging once she enters the political arena.
“Tinitingnan ko muna kung kaya ko ba talaga pumasok sa mundo ng pulitika kasi hindi ako sanay d’yan. Well, kung trabaho, s’yempre kaya ko po ‘yan, pero ang environment itself, I would not know if I’m cut out for it,” De Lima said.
(I am still gauging myself if I can enter the world of politics because I am not used to it. Well, I can handle the work, but the environment itself, I would not know if I’m cut out for it.)
De Lima was an election lawyer before she served as chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, then as secretary of the Department of Justice.
She said in an interview on July 14 on ANC’s Headstart that she was “about 80% sure [of running for senate in 2016], but is still observing the developments at the political front.”
The secretary of justice added that the decision to run was personal and would be out of her desire to continue serving the public.
“It’s difficult to make a decision on such a thing. This will be a very major decision on my part. It will be a different world for me. If at all, I would favorably consider running, [I would] just do so in the name of public service,” De Lima said.
De Lima’s ‘20%’
Volunteers calling themselves the #Lima2016 Volunteer Movement said they “recognize that De Lima has the integrity, competence, and track record to champion the reform agenda in the Senate.”
“We are 100% supportive of Leila de Lima’s candidacy for the Senate in 2016. We hope this could constitute the 20% she is looking for to firm up her decision to run,” the group said on Monday.
The group’s convenors, led by Dahlia Salamat, said they “strongly believe De Lima can perform these responsibilities through legislation and become the voice of the underserved and disadvantaged in the Senate.”
The covenant was signed by the “Lima para kay de Lima,” referring to the 5 core groups of the movement led by Carlos Uybarreta, Solomon Hermosura, Cesar Turiano, Nida Lucenario, and Cynthia Roxas.
De Lima said she was “heartened and humbled” by such a move.
She clarified, however, that she was not involved in the group pushing for her candidacy, but claimed that some of those behind it are her friends and sorority sisters at San Beda College.
“Aware ako sa activity nila, pero hindi ako involved d’yan (I am aware of [the group’s] activities but I am not involved in any of them). It is purely an initiative of volunteers, some of whom I know, friends, sorority sisters, and some I do not know,” she said when asked about the composition of the group.
Aside from #Lima2016, some netizens also expressed their support for De Lima and used the hashtag “#D5” on social media accounts. A Facebook account, Team Leila de Lima, was also created in support of De Lima’s candidacy.
In the May 30 to June 5 Pulse Asia survey of possible senatorial candidates, De Lima was in the 7th to 14th places with 38.7% in voter’s senatorial preference. – Rappler.com
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