By Hannah Torregoza
Detained Senator Leila de Lima once again has been named as one of the Leading Global Thinkers for 2017 by US-based Foreign Policy magazine for vocally criticizing President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs even though it cost the senator her freedom.
“From the beginning, (Senator) de Lima knew how dangerous her unfettered criticism of her country’s leader might prove,” Benjamin Soloway, an associate editor of Foreign Policy, wrote.
Foreign Policy cited how De Lima bravely refused to be silenced by the blatant and incessant attacks launched against her by the President’s allies, standing her ground and vowing her innocence against the charges hurled at her.
De Lima is currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Quezon City and is facing multiple drug cases which, she said, are trumped-up charges against her for vocally criticizing the President’s anti-illegal drug campaign and the spate of extra judicial killings happening in the country.
“But de Lima has refused to shut up. The government is trying to ‘totally silence dissent and cultivate a culture of double standard of justice, where those allied with the President and his family are accorded impunity,’” Soloway added.
“Now, de Lima fears that Duterte could go even further to silence her. Today she refuses all prison rations, eating only food brought by visitors. While she fears for her safety, she is convinced that the international community’s scrutiny of Duterte’s rule is helping keep her alive,” he narrated.
A simple reception gala was held at the Mead Center for American Theater in Washington D.C. under the Leading Global reThinkers of 2017.
De Lima joins the list of this year’s Leading Global reThinkers of 2017 which include South Korea President Moon Jae-in, United Kingdom Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbin, French President Emmanuel Macron, US Senator Kamala Haris, artist and human rights activist Ai Weiwei, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Halley, among others.
Early this year, the senator was also recognized by Time Magazine as one of 100 Most Influential People, one of the Icons, by Amnesty International as one of the notable Women Human Rights Defenders in 2017, and more recently, by Liberal International as “Prize for Freedom” Awardee for 2018, among others.