Press Release
November 8, 2020

Message for the Webinar "RESISTers: Women Speak to Power"
30 October 2020

Magandang hapon sa ating lahat!

Sa mga kapwa kong lingkod-bayan, sa mga kapwa kong ina, anak na babae, mga kapanalig sa pagtataguyod ng karapatang pantao, mga kasamang indibidwal at samahan na nagsusulong ng karapatan ng kababaihan, at sa lahat ng mga babae, mga ka-sister, at ka-resist! Mabuhay kayo!

To begin, let me take off from the title of today's event as I find it creative and insightful. An ingenious wordplay, RESISTers, but a very apt title for an event that consists of many things women. Resistance is the language of empowerment.

We need to resist because our rights and spaces in society are being violated and trampled upon by the misogynistic, chauvinistic, and women abuser Duterte regime.

We have to unite and band together to push back and reclaim our person and womanhood against the behavior that debases our essence and existence.

We have to be sisters with each other to share each other's sufferings, misfortunes and pains because we are also each other's strength against the tyrannical government that now targets us, women, who know our causes and advocacies and who would rather be silenced than be silent, and who would rather speak out than to be talked down.

Since 2016, the lascivious and licentious president has acclimatized the government machinery to be predatory and prejudicial to women. We have been publicly attacked, not only our person, but also our body parts, and most damningly wreaking havoc on our basic sense of decency and respect for rule of law.

Maliban sa paniniil, pang-aabuso, at pagkaladkad sa atin sa mga kasong imbento at pandarahas, ginagawang pulutan tayong kababaihan ng kanilang kalaswaan, mula sa Kongreso hanggang sa telebisyon.

Ang pag-abuso sa ating pagkababae ang ginagawang pang-aliw ni Duterte sa mga trolls niya sa social media.

Wala sa ating pananamit ang dahilan, kundi nasa kanilang malaswang utak. Sila ang hubad sa katwiran. Ang kanilang mga konsensya ang walang saplot.

I remain in detention for 3 years, 8 months and 7 days now for the simple truth that Duterte cannot stand strong women. For launching an investigation into his murderous war on drugs and for speaking out against his abuses, Duterte lashed out against me.

He vowed to destroy me in public and he tried so with all machineries of state he can lay his dirty hands on.

As if on cue, shortly after releasing a laughable drug matrix showing me at the center of the Bilibid drug trade, I was unseated as Chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which was then investigating the extrajudicial killings under his drug war. The next day, his cohorts led by Vitaliano Aguirre, began the investigations at the House of Representatives on my alleged involvement in the drug trade.

There, with the testimonies of perjured hardened criminals, whom I stripped of privileges in the New Bilibid Prison as Secretary of Justice, I was dubbed as a drug queen.

But for the invented charges to stick, my credibility had to be destroyed. And so with repeated lies and attempts at humiliation, they attacked me as a woman, with my personal life hung dry in public. Overnight, I became the subject of slutshaming memes and jokes in social media.

Duterte even said: "If I were De Lima, I'll hang myself. The innermost of your core as a female is being serialized everyday."

Amid all this, it was women, RESISters, who were the first to come to my defense. Through the collective efforts of strong and courageous women, the so-called legislative probe was exposed for the farce and harassment it truly was.

I am in jail for alleged conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade. Hanggang ngayon, walang maipakitang matibay na ebidensya laban sa akin, maliban sa testimonya ng mga convict-witnesses at ilan-ilang mga kaduda-dudang testigo.

No drugs, no money trail, no transactions. No credible derogatory information, intel or otherwise, about my alleged drug links. Nothing.

Just recently, prosecution witnesses from AMLC and PDEA testified that they found no suspicious transaction that could link me to the illegal drug trade in Bilibid. The drug cases against me are now crumbling and unraveling as truly bogus cases.

For the past weeks, we have seen heightened attacks on women, especially women who resist - Reina Nasino, Angel Locsin, her sister Ella Colmenares, Liza Soberano, Catriona Gray, Beatrice Belen. But what is more remarkable is the heightened vigilance and resistance among us women.

Dumarami ang nagsasalita hindi lang para sa kanilang mga sarili kundi para sa karapatan ng kapwa nila kababaihan.

What is it with us, that a decorated general and a trashtalking President shudder in fear when we raise our fists and speak? Their macho-fascist mentality cannot simply fathom how we are able to push back despite all the beatings.

Because they thought that when they take our children from our bosoms, we will be broken forever; that when they violate and rape us, we will blame ourselves; that when they put a red tag on us, we will cower into submission; that when they jail us, we will be silenced.

Kapag tayo ay lumalaban, inaatake tayo bilang babae dahil buong akala nila ang pagiging babae ang ating kahinaan.

Diyan sila nagkamali! Now the general is crying foul on TV, saying that it is not right to accuse him. He never saw the avalanche of backlash coming, kahit mula sa mga kapwa niya kalalakihan.

Indeed, the day of reckoning for these people in power who dare shame our womanhood and erase our truth will come.

This regime is stupid to paint us in the brush stroke of meek and coy Maria Clara, for we are borne out of the struggle and the tradition of Tandang Sora, Gregoria de Jesus and Gabriela.

And so with the most crimson lipstick in this side of Camp Crame, I stand in solidarity.

Mabuhay ang kababaihang lumalaban!

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