MANILA - Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday called on Filipinos to remain steadfast in fighting for justice as her supporters launched "Buwan ni Leila" days before she marks a year in detention.
In a statement, De Lima, a fierce administration critic who was arrested on drug charges on Feb. 24, 2017, looked back at her yearlong detention and lamented her separation from her family.
"Isang taon ng pangungulila. Pangungulila sa aking mga anak, mga apo, lalo na sa aking ina, na hanggang ngayon, hindi pa rin alam ang aking sitwasyon upang hindi na makasama pa sa kaniyang kalusugan," said De Lima.
(One year of longing. Longing for my children, my grandchildren, specially my mother, who until now is not aware of my situation because it might worsen her health condition.)
She had earlier bared that all her mother Norma was told about her absence from home was that she was on an extended overseas trip.
De Lima has repeatedly denied drug involvement and said her detention was "political persecution."
While incarcerated, De Lima said her faith has never wavered, asserting that she would not be silenced.
"Maipakulong man nila ako, hindi ko kailanman isusuko ang aking mga ipinaglalaban. I will never be silenced. Paulit-ulit ko pong sinasabi ito," said De Lima, who has continued to issue her commentary on state affairs through dispatches from her cell.
(They may have me jailed but I will never give up what I am fighting for. I will never be silenced. I say this again and again.)
"Through my faith in God, and through your unwavering support, my spirit remains high and unshakeable. This regime may limit my actions and freedom, but they can never restrain me from being truthful to my words and principles," she said.
The senator also called upon Filipinos to be strong in fighting for truth and justice.
"Ang katarungan ay pinaghihirapan. Hindi basta na lang lalabas ang katotohanan mula sa patong-patong na kasinungalingan kung walang maglalakas ng loob na ito’y ipaglaban," she said.
(Justice is fought for. The truth doesn't come out from a pile of lies if no one will fight for it.)
"Nananalig ako na gaano man kabigat ang pagsubok na aking pinagdadaanan ngayon, gaano pa man katagal ang aking paghihintay, darating din ang panahon na makakamit ko ang hustisya."
(I have faith that no matter how difficult my situation is now, no matter how long I wait, time will come when I will attain justice.)
De Lima's political party, the Liberal Party, also expressed support for the detained senator and renewed their call for her release.
"Senator Leila de Lima is a classic case of 'nagmahal sa bayan, sinaktan, kinulong, pinagkakaitan ng karapatan' (loved the country, got hurt, jailed, deprived of her rights)," the party said in a statement.
"Starting today and until her release, let there be an outpouring of gratitude and solidarity for the country's democracy fighters like Senator De Lima. Let us show her that her love of country and compatriots is requited and that her sacrifice is recognized and honored," it added.