MANILA— Detained Sen. Leila De Lima on Friday wished for "vindication and freedom" for her and fellow Filipinos as she celebrated her 62nd birthday while in jail due to drug charges.
In a statement, De Lima, a staunch administration critic who has called cases against her as political persecution, said she "always hoped" that every birthday that passes by would be her last in detention.
The senator, who has been detained since 2017, added that she "regrets nothing" and is "honored" to be in jail for fighting for her principles.
"What is there to regret when you are on the side of truth and justice? I said it on the day I was arrested and I will say it again: Karangalan ko po na ako'y makulong dahil sa mga ipinaglalaban ko," according to the opposition lawmaker.
(It is an honor for me to get jailed because of what I am fighting for.)
"Karangalan kong maging tinig ng mga pinatatahimik, maging tambuli ng sambayanang gumigising, at maging taga-hawak ng sulo sa landas ng pag-asa at pagkakaisa para sa lahat,” she said.
(It is an honor to be the voice of the voiceless, to tell people to wake up, and to hold the torch of hope and unity for everyone)
De Lima celebrated her birthday, her 5th in detention, with blessings and prayers from Fr. Flavie Villanueva and 1Sambayan convenor Fr. Albert Alejo at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame.
She also thanked her supporters and loved ones for their show of love even if she is detained, saying that the fight would continue.
“Since my arrest in 2017, I have always hoped that each birthday would be the last in detention, and I have never stopped hoping. Hoping for vindication and freedom, not only for me but for the rest of the Filipino people. Sana ay tuluyan na nating makamit ang buhay na malaya at may dignidad,” she said.
(I hope we continue to achieve a life of freedom and dignity.)
De Lima has been detained since February 2017 for allegedly pocketing drug payoffs from convicted crime lords when she was still justice secretary during the previous administration. She denied the charges, saying they were politically motivated.
Last February, a court acquitted the senator in 1 of the 3 drug cases she was facing.
FROM THE ARCHIVES