Sen. De Lima honored for fight against Duterte

by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN, North America Bureau


WASHINGTON DC –  On Monday night, the most outspoken critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Philippine Senator Leila de Lima, was recognized as one of Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers.

De Lima was honored for being a “challenger” for standing up to what Foreign Policy described as “an extremist leader,” the former Davao City mayor, Duterte.

“It’s quite an honor, Ibig sabihin nakikita nila po yung nagiging efforts ko, nung aking sitwasyon sa Pilipinas for my chief advocacy, for the promotion and protection of Human Rights, and also for the promotion and upholding the rule of law,” De Lima said.

“I’m offering this recognition, this award to the Filipino people lalo na ho dun sa mga lumaban para sa demokrasya at patuloy na lumalaban para talaga ma-preserve ang demokrasya sa ating bansa,” she added.

Organizers say that those honored stepped in to ease the suffering of others with the various things that happened recentlyfrom Europe’s Brexit, Donald Trump’s unexpected triumphant bid for the White House, to Philippine President Durterte’s bloody crackdown on drugs.

“It’s the case for optimism in this new world of ugly populism,” according to Foreign Policy magazine’s CEO and Editor David Rothkopf.

“These people are not sitting still and watching the problems of the world go by they’re doing something about it,” Rothkopf added.

In front of an international audience, Senator De Lima described her fight against human rights abuses in the Philippines.

“The human rights situation in the Philippines is deplorable,” she said. “There had been countless killings in the name of the war on drugs, and we have been monitoring these since day one.”

Her overall message: continue to monitor the alleged human rights violations and extra-judicial killings that surround the Philippines’ war on drugs.

“I am probably the most controversial, most maligned, or demonized public figure in the country today,” De Lima told the crowd. “But I shall keep fighting a good fight.”

De Lima said these so-called extrajudicial killings in the Philippines will not stop if no one will stand against it.

“We have a president who openly promotes and encourages killings,” she said. “He had mentioned this during the campaign and people thought this was merely a joke.”

De Lima says, the Philippine President ultimately has the power to stop the violence.

“It would only take the President to say it, categorically and firmly all he needs to do is say, ‘Stop the Killings’,” De Lima said. “Siya may utos na gawin yan, and therefore siya rin dapat ang magutos na tapusin yan.”

De Lima has also been accused of planning to seek asylum in the US or in Europe, while cases against her are pending in the Philippines.

Senator De Lima has also said that she believes, in a democracy, she should be able to criticize those in power freely, without fear of retaliation or retribution.

“Huwag po kayong mag-alala, hinding-hindi po ako tatakas, hindi po ako mag-aaply ng asylum dahil wala po akong kasalanan, wala po akong ginawa at ginagawang masama, wala po akong kasalanan sa taong bayan,” she said. “Kaya buong tapang ko pong haharapin ang yang mga paratang na yan, hindi po ako duwag.”

The Senator will next go to Berlin, Germany to attend a human rights conference as a keynote speaker at the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy.

Other recipients of the Global Thinker awards include Philippine transgender Congresswoman Geraldine Roman, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.


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  • h
    14 December 2016 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    This Sen. De Lima, can’t be trusted I think the president will have her kill, because she made a lot of money from drugs that the drug lord was given her money by the millions of dollars. She is a drug dealer. And should be arrested.