By Hannah Torregoza
All she wants for her birthday is to be vindicated and to gain her freedom.
This was Senator Leila De Lima’s birthday wish as she spends her 57th birthday detained at the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) custodial center on drug charges.
“Tulad ng nauna ko nang nabanggit, ang birthday wish ko po: vindication (just like what I have repeatedly said, my birthday wish is vindication),” de Lima said in a handwritten statement.
“Paglaya hindi lamang mula sa di-makatarungang pagpapakulong sa akin ng rehimeng Duterte, kundi pati na rin ang paglaya mula sa mga kasinungalingan at paninira sa aking pagkababae at pagkatao (To be free not only from being unfairly arrested by the Duterte administration, but to be vindicated as well from the lies and accusations against my womanhood and personality),” she stressed.
Insofar as she is concerned, the senator said she wants to clear her name, not only for herself but for her family — her parents — whom she said raised her and her siblings with integrity.
“Inosente po ako. Malinis ang aking konsensya. Hindi ko po pinangarap na maging abogado at maging lingkod-bayan para sirain lang ang aming pangalan (I am innocent. My conscience is clear. I did not dream of being a lawyer and a public servant just to tarnish our name),” she said.
De Lima, a former justice secretary and Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chief, has since vehemently denied being involved in illegal drugs.
Nevertheless, the lawmaker said she would continue to pray for justice, for truth and democracy to prevail in the country.
“Patuloy ko pong dalangin ang ating tagumpay: Ang mangibabaw ang katotohanan, ang makamtan ang katarungan ng mga pamilyang pinagkaitan ng hustisya, at ang pananaig ng demokrasya (I will continue to pray for our success: that truth will prevail and for us to achieve the justice for the families who were deprived justice and for democracy),” de Lima said.