MANILA - Before the year ended, Senator Leila de Lima hit anew the rising number of extrajudicial killings in the country.
"Sa likod ng mga salo-salo at makikislap na palamuti, mayroon tayong mga kapwang nagdadalamhati at labis ang pighati sa gunita ng pinaslang na magulang, anak, kapatid, asawa, at kaibigan. Paano nga ba magdiwang, kung nagpapatuloy ang patayan at kawalang katarungan sa lipunan?" De Lima said in her New Year's message.
(Behind the festivities and dazzling decors, there are those who are grieving the loss of a parent, a sibling, a spouse, or a friend. How can we celebrate when the killings and injustice continue to proliferate in our country?)
De Lima lamented that some Filipinos were not given the chance to change for the better in 2017.
"May mga kababayan tayong pinatay, bago pa man bigyan ng pagkakataong magbagong-buhay," the staunch Duterte critic said.
(Some of our countrymen were killed before they were given a chance to turn over a new leaf.)
De Lima urged Filipinos to pray for the family of those who were slain, as well as Filipinos who lost their homes and loved ones due to natural disasters.
"Sa pagsapit ng Bagong Taon, naniniwala ako sa higit pang pagmamalasakit ng Pilipino sa kapwa Pilipino at sa pagrespeto sa karapatang pantao," she said.
(As a new year arrives, I hope the Filipinos will give more respect and will be more concerned about the rights of others.)
De Lima has previously tagged President Rodrigo Duterte as "a murderer and father of extrajudicial killings" as she believes that the former Davao mayor was behind the Davao Death Squad.
Other senators voted to oust De Lima as the chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights in September due to supposed bias during the congressional probe on extrajudicial killings.
De Lima was also tagged by Duterte and his allies as a drug coddler, an accusation she has repeatedly denied.