De Lima and her 2 ‘inspirations’ while in jail

Camille Elemia

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De Lima and her 2 ‘inspirations’ while in jail
'I draw much strength from Israel and Brandon, my angels,' says detained Senator Leila de Lima of her elder son and grandson, respectively

Two weeks in detention and, as she expects, more to go.

Aside from finding solace in reading books and writing letters, some of which are her statements on recent events, Senator Leila de Lima is drawing strength from her two special boys, her 33-year-old son Israel and her 10-year-old grandson Brandon. (READ: De Lima son visits mom in Senate while waiting for arrest)

“In these trying & most hurting times for our family, my special son, 33-yr-old ISRAEL & grandson, 10-yr-old BRANDON, are much more blessed than the rest,” said De Lima in a handwritten letter dated Thursday, March 9.

“Their perpetual innocence & purity in spirit insulate them from the cruelty & irrationality of humankind. They have a world of their own which I imagine is one free of pretensions & bitterness. I draw much strength from Israel & Brandon, my angels,” she added.

In 2014, in her opening statement before the Commission on Appointments, De Lima expressed the same adoration for the two.

“[I am] a single mother, whose marriage has long since been judicially annulled, and who has been blessed with two sons and two grandchildren, the eldest of both sets being children with autism, who have been the Lord’s unexpected gifts to our family and my constant sources of inspiration,” De Lima said during her confirmation hearing.

Days before her arrest, De Lima attended the art exhibit of Israel in Mandaluyong City. Israel is De Lima’s elder son with former husband, lawyer Plaridel Bohol. Brandon is the son of Vincent, De Lima’s younger son.

SUPPORT. The senator flanked by family, including Israel (in blue) and Vincent (rightmost), and staff during the proclamation of new senators in May 2016. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

FAMILY. The senator's mother (beside De Lima), her 2 sons (3rd and 4th from left), and her granddaughter join her as she takes her oath before Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. Photo from De Lima's official Facebook account.

The senator, a week before her arrest, also gathered her family, including her two brothers and a sister, to prepare them for the inevitable.

According to the staff of De Lima, Israel and Brandon make it a point to visit the senator weekly. –

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a former multimedia reporter for Rappler. She covered media and disinformation, the Senate, the Office of the President, and politics.