Press Release
August 2, 2021

De Lima thanks US Senators for renewed call for her freedom, concern for Filipinos

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has extended her gratitude to the 11 US Senators who recently urged the Biden government to condemn the Duterte administration on its blatant human rights abuses and violations, including her continued unjust detention.

On a Twitter post, De Lima thanked the US Senators led by Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey, and expressed her hope that their passion for justice and accountability will inspire more Filipinos - especially politicians running for office.

"Thank you to the 11 US Senators led by @SenMarkey. May their untiring concern for our plight continue to inspire more Filipinos, especially those who are running for public office, to join the fight for justice and accountability," De Lima said.

In their letter, the US Senators reminded the US government anew to condemn "the Philippine government's systemic human rights violations", including De Lima's prolonged detention.

They also asked whether US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has communicated with the Philippine government about the release of De Lima and has considered sanctions, under the Global Magnitsky Act, to Philippine officials implicated in serious human rights violations, such as Duterte's murderous War on Drugs, and other high crimes.

Markey, Chairman of the US Senate Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy was joined by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (MA), Cory Booker (NJ), Patrick Leahy (VT), Jeffrey Merkley (OR), Sherrod Brown (OH), Ben Cardin (MD), Ron Wyden (OR), Bob Casey (PA), Richard J. Durbin (IL) and Chris Van Hollen (MD).

Meanwhile, De Lima, the staunchest critic of the Duterte regime, said that this additional condemnation from notable foreign leaders proves that the international community has not turned a blind eye to Duterte's disregard of the law and blatant violation of human rights.

"The international clamor to hold the Duterte regime accountable for its blatant violation of human rights is as loud as ever," she said.

It can be recalled that lawmakers from international powers, including the United States, Canada and other European countries, have repeatedly expressed their support for De Lima's causes and their condemnation of Duterte's skewed, corrupt and brutal public order policies.

Instead of forming a dialogue with concerned members of the international community, Duterte publicly berated and insulted them, including ordering a ban against three of the 11 US Senators - Markey, Leahy and Durbin, who is the current Senate Majority Whip, the second highest ranking position among the Senate Democrats.

De Lima, who recently declared that she will seek reelection in the 2022 elections, vowed that she "will not be cowed" and intends to continue fighting for justice, human rights and democracy.

"Sending me to jail has made me even stronger. My zeal to restore the justice you [Duterte] have trampled upon has intensified. All my efforts to fight your crooked regime will be put to waste if I back down from the challenge of seeking reelection," De Lima said in an Indictment letter to Duterte last July 21.

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