Press Release
August 27, 2021

De Lima: I have always hoped that each birthday will be the last in detention

As she marks her 5th birthday in unjust detention today (Aug. 27), Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima shared that she wishes for vindication and freedom not just for her but for fellow Filipinos.

While she admitted to being sad for not being able to spend her special day with family, friends and staff, even just in one cramped reception room, De Lima maintained that she regrets nothing.

"What is there to regret when you are on the side of truth and justice? I said it on the day I was arrested and I will say it again: Karangalan ko po na ako'y makulong dahil sa mga ipinaglalaban ko. And I wish to add to that line today: Karangalan kong maging tinig ng mga pinatatahimik, maging tambuli ng sambayanang gumigising, at maging taga-hawak ng sulo sa landas ng pag-asa at pagkakaisa para sa lahat," she said.

"Since my arrest in 2017, I have always hoped that each birthday will be the last in detention, and I have never stopped hoping. Hoping for vindication and freedom, not only for me but for the rest of the Filipino people. Sana ay tuluyan na nating makamit ang buhay na malaya at may dignidad," she added.

De Lima, who turned 62 years old, simply welcomed her birthday with prayer blessings from Frs. Flavie Villanueva and Albert "Paring Bert" Alejo at the reception area inside PNP Custodial Center, Camp Crame.

Despite her ordeal, the lady Senator from Bicol said she is truly grateful for the gift of life, good health, and strength, as well as for the overflowing love from the people around her.

"I reflect on the last 5 years, and there is nothing but gratitude - for my family, my colleagues, my friends, supporters, and my hardworking staff; the constant messages of support even from strangers; for my life, and for this chance to make it a part of a greater and more meaningful struggle of a people fighting the good fight," she said.

"Maraming salamat sa Mahal na Panginoon sa biyaya ng buhay, kalusugan at katatagan. Salamat din sa lahat sa patuloy na tiwala at pagmamahal. Tuloy ang laban!," she added.

Days ahead of her birthday, the #LabanLeila2022 campaign volunteer network comprising of volunteers from different sectors who committed their talents and resources to campaign for De Lima and support her advocacy while she remains under unjust detention rolled out in Cebu, Iloilo, Bicol and NCR.

Considered as the most prominent political prisoner under the current regime, De Lima remains detained due to bogus drug charges for political reasons and Duterte's personal vendetta.

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