Press Release
July 1, 2017

No detention can stop my work - De Lima

As she marks her first year in the Senate, Senator Leila M. de Lima today said that no amount of trumped-up charges leveled against her could stop her from fulfilling her job as a duly-elected Senator of the Republic.

De Lima, who is currently detained at the Philippine National Police - Custodial Center, Camp Crame in Quezon City, said she would continue fulfilling her legislative duties in the Senate even from her detention cell.

"They can continue persecuting me, but it will not stop me from stepping up my role as a duly-elected Senator. I shall continue filing bills and resolutions, co-author other worthy legislation that will benefit our countrymen," she said.

Less than a year into her first term as a neophyte lawmaker, De Lima was arrested for trumped-up illegal drug charges that were all based on manufactured evidence and perjured testimonies of convicted criminals.

She said she believes that these charges were part of the political persecution meant to silence her strong opposition to the government's all-out war on drugs that saw the continued spate of extrajudicial killings in the country.

De Lima initiated a Senate inquiry into the spate of extrajudicial killings when she filed Senate Resolution No. 9 to look into the extrajudicial and summary executions carried out in the government's war on drugs.

To date, De Lima has filed 29 bills and 30 resolutions in the Senate, of which 10 bills and 19 of these resolutions were filed while in detention. She has also co-authored seven bills and 13 resolutions.

De Lima's bills include the Anti-Extrajudicial Killing Bill, the Commission on Human Rights Charter, the Criminal Investigation Bill, the Philippine National Railway Rehabilitation and Revitalization, the Libel Reform Act, the Criminal Code of the Philippines, among many others.

In her first year in the Senate, De Lima was recognized by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of its 100 Gl0bal Thinkers for 2016 for "standing up to an extremist leader." Time Magazine also named her as one of the 100 Most Influential People for 2017, while Amnesty International labeled her as a Global Human Rights Defender last May.

The respect for and admiration to De Lima and her vocal opposition to the government's all-out war on drugs has not faltered even as cases filed against her have piled up despite the absence of credible evidence linking her to drug trade.

The European Parliament has condemned her arrest, calling it an obvious case of political persecution, while the Inter-Parliamentary Union sent a delegation last May to check on her and the cases she is facing.

Meanwhile, the Magnificent 7 of the House of Representatives and the Senate Minority Bloc have also visited her and vowed to support De Lima and her immediate release from illegal detention. Even while in detention, the Senator from Bicol has refused to be silenced as she continued to issue regular dispatches which contain her views, positions and even reflections on important national and international issues.

De Lima, however, has a pending petition at the Supreme Court questioning her illegal arrest and unjust detention. Pending the High Court's ruling, she hopes she could vote on important legislation in the Senate.

Her colleagues in the Senate Minority Bloc have also expressed their unequivocal support for her request for a legislative furlough as they filed Senate Resolution No. 391 urging the Senate leadership to support her request.

"I remain hopeful that, at the very least, I would be able to vote during the deliberations of crucial legislation, such as the proposals to reintroduce the death penalty, the postponement of barangay elections, and the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility, all of which I am opposing," she said.

De Lima said she does not regret any of her decisions during her first year as a neophyte senator. She maintained that all of her actions in her first year in the Senate were done for the sake of protecting human rights and the rule of law.

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