One can only admire the diligence of Senator Leila de Lima in regularly coming out with hand-written dispatches from her detention cell at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center, in Quezon City, which contains almost always barbs against her arch-enemy, President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Without access to any electronic gadget and communication device, the written word is my only weapon while in detention,” De Lima, the first prominent politician jailed under the Duterte regime, said.
Admitting that she could still use her pen and paper in expressing her thoughts on important issues like Duterte’s war on drugs, extra-judicial killings, human rights and governance among others, and able to share her feelings about her current situation only means that her voice has not been suppressed and that she is using it brazenly as a weapon not only to destroy Duterte but also to play upon the emotions of people.
On one hand Duterte has prevented de Lima from gallivanting, but on the other hand de Lima can’t really complain because she continues to exercise her freedom of expression to the fullest, which includes taking potshots at Duterte. For this she should be thankful because it is as if she has taken the floor of the senate to lambast Duterte.
In de Lima’s latest transmittal she is reminding people again, least they forget, that Duterte is and has always been the chief instigator of thousands of extra-judicial killings and a foremost misogynist.
That Duterte’s tirades and blasphemies against the Church and the Catholic faith have gone beyond what is acceptable, according to her, as he seems to be inciting his base of supporters to rob and /or kill bishops.
The truth is that, carried by her unhinged emotions, de Lima could no longer see anything that is good in what Duterte is doing for the country. She thrives in sowing fear like saying that Duterte has treasonously sold us out to China for refusing to assert the Hague ruling in exchange for dubious loans, or that Duterte is now more likely to harm, harass or even kill human rights defenders (HRDs) as he has now tagged them as “enemies of the State”. Worse still is that de Lima is peddling the idea that Duterte wants to be a dictator.
The irony here is that in de Lima’s quest to be perceived by the populace as the mouthpiece of political critics of Duterte, she has forgotten that she is in jail mainly because she is facing serious and credible drug charges while heading the Department of Justice during the Aquino administration.
The people, therefore, know who de Lima is and know even better who Duterte is – warts and all.