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A mother’s burden: Leila ain’t giving up because she wants her children to get their good name back

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Sen. Leila de Lima admitted that her children have become collateral damage in President Rodrigo Duterte’s dogged determination to silence her and put her behind bars.

In a handwritten message from her Camp Crame detention cell, de Lima that her imprisonment has become doubly painful because her children and grandchildren have also suffered the consequences of the administration’s harassment and insults.

“A huge part of why I am still fighting, of why I haven’t given up and why I REFUSE to ever giving up, is because I want to give back to my children their good name; the vindication of being able to say, one day, that their mother is innocent, that she never received, directly or indirectly, even a single centavo from illegal sources, much less from the illegal drug trade; and the ability to continue holding their heads up high, knowing that their mother was fearless and selfless, when she accepted the punishments unfairly inflicted upon her as the price she was willing to pay for the return of sanity, of truth, of justice, human rights and the rule of law to our nation,” said de Lima.

Her children are Vincent Joshua, Jiro and Israel.

“Knowing that is very painful to me. No mother wants to bring even the slightest discomfort to their children—much less the sufferings as grave as they have had to go through lately,” said de Lima.

But de Lima said that her fight was not only for a personal cause but for all the mothers whose children have become a statistic in Duterte’s brutal drug war who have been either killed during a police operation or whose death was under investigation.

“There are those who will never know the horrors of seeing their children before their time; of being executed like animals or of being dismissed as collateral damage because they were caught in the crossfire, or mistaken for someone else, in the hands of brutal executioners who have been given a license to kill with impunity under the thin guise of law enforcement operations,” said de Lima

“I, myself, do not know this grief personally, fortunately, but I have seen others suffer it first-hand. That is why I did what I did: I called out the extrajudicial killings that were happening because I could not abide even with one such death, one such casualty, because I know that there are parents, spouses, children who are suffering the loss on a personal basis,” she added. “It’s a painful situation all around.”