By Hannah Torregoza
Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday described the United States 2020 Appropriations law, which included imposing an entry ban on Philippine government officials who were responsible for her detention, a “most wonderful Christmas blessing” and hopes this is the last time she is spending the Yuletide season in detention.
De Lima, who is currently detained over drug charges, said the imposition of sanctions in the approved appropriation bill against those responsible for her wrongful imprisonment signifies solid recognition by the US government that she is a clear victim of political persecution.
“My gratitude to the US Congress is overwhelming for including in the final and approved Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2020, now signed into law by the US President, the provision restricting the travel to the US of those responsible for and party to my persecution and imprisonment,” de Lima said in her latest statement.
“This latest development signals the fact that impunity cannot last and that one way or another, justice will catch up with those who choose to do injustice to others,” she said.
Last December 20, US President Donald Trump signed into law the US Fiscal Year 2020 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill which includes a provision banning the entry of Philippine government officials involved in De Lima’s wrongful detention.
De Lima said it was now only a matter of time before the European Union, Canada, and other nations follow suit in imposing sanctions on Duterte, his officials and their cohorts. Human rights is fighting back! Accountability is coming! A most wonderful Christmas blessing! Thank you, US! Thank you, dear God!” she said.
With this, De Lima said she wished that it would be the last time she was spending Christmas in detention so that she could finally perform her duties as a senator and participate in the legislative process and spend more time with her family.
“I hope that this is my last Christmas in detention so that my normal life as a mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and as a duly-elected Senator be now restored,” she said.
“I’m raring to work fully and assiduously as a fiscalizing minority senator and focus on my chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development,” she added.
De Lima also shared her hope that more and more patriotic men and women and pro-democracy forces join the ranks of those persistently working for a return of a just, humane and decent Philippine society.
“Despite the struggles Filipinos continue to endure under an anti-human rights government, I hope that we can all remain optimistic that better days are coming if we choose to fight for what is right,” she said.