MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday marked her 1,000th day in detention, calling it unjust and illegal, since she was arrested for drug-related charges.
In a statement, De Lima said that until now, she still feels disbelief over her ordeal and described her time in detention as days of “isolation, restrictions and restraints, agitations, doubts, and apprehensions.”
A vocal critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, De Lima was arrested in 2017 over allegations she was behind the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prisons especially during her stint as Department of Justice Secretary under the term of President Benigno Aquino III.
She was also accused of accepting drug money to fund her senatorial campaign in 2016 elections.
The senator has repeatedly denied the drug allegations, as well as claims that she protected drug lords.
De Lima, however, said that being in detention had its benefits for her.
“But there’s the other side, the good side,” she added. “1,000 days of a contemplative life of simple joys and wants, of prayerful reflections. Days of sustained sanity and willpower. The will to survive, and overcome.”
She also said that physical restrictions “did not prevent her from truly being “free.”
“I’m freer than most. Free to think and feel. Free to speak out. Free to fight. Unbelievable graces from the great Giver!” she said.
The lawmaker said that despite being detained, she still managed to fulfill her electoral mandate by authoring 52 bills and 20 resolutions.
She said she also co-authored three bills and five resolutions, so far, in the 18th Congress.
Supporters of the Senator have also marked her 1,000th year in detention in a gathering in Quezon City and Iriga City in Camarines Sur on Wednesday.
An indignation run, dubbed “#1KNotOK Indignation Run,” will also be held in the said areas to protest De Lima’s detention, and rally for her freedom.
The run in Quezon City was organized by the Human Rights and People Empowerment Center, the University of the Philippines Diliman University Student Council and Tindig Pilipinas, while the run in Camarines Sur was led by De Lima’s youngest brother, Vicente “Vicboy” M. de Lima II.