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Solid pa rin! Opposition lawmakers assure De Lima of support on 59th birthday

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Senator Kiko Pangilinan on Monday said the 59th birthday of detained Senator Leila de Lima will not go “unmarked.”

Pangilinan, a member of the Senate minority bloc, made the remark as he vowed to continue to defend and support De Lima, who spent her birthday in detention for the second time.

De Lima was detained at the Phil. National Police Custodial Center on drug charges in February 2017.

“In celebration of her birthday, we are thankful for having Sen. Leila in our midst, who has shown us what courage and fortitude is,” said Pangilinan, also Liberal Party (LP) president.

He said that the LP, the Senate minority bloc, as well as De Lima’s supporters are committed to “continue praying for her safety and good health.”

“We also commit these to Sen. Leila: to continue pressing the courts to allow her to take part in the hearings on the Philippines’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Courts through a video or teleconference; to pursue requests that she be allowed to exercise her duties as legislator, such as conducting hearings, despite being behind bars; and to be unceasing in our position that she did not commit any wrongdoings and that the charges against her were all fabricated,” Pangilinan said.

Fellow opposition Senators Sonny Trillanes and Risa Hontiveros, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, Rep. Gary Alejano, former social welfare secretary Dinky Soliman, former peace adviser Ging Deles, former Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., were among those who visited De Lima on Sunday to celebrate her birthday in advance.

De Lima thanked her visitors and commended her colleagues in the Senate minority for tirelessly fighting for justice and the rule of law. “Saludo ako sa tapang at determinasyon n’yo.”

“I commend my staff members, that in spite of my situation–it is not easy to work for a principal who is the object of vilification by the government–they still function properly. I owe them a lot,” she said.

“To my lawyers, I thank them for aiming to secure my freedom early despite it being really challenging because there are justices and judges who refuse to see the merits of our causes,” she said.

De Lima added, “I will continue to defy my oppressors. I shall defy any lure of hopelessness. I will resist the breakdown of the rule of law. I shall defy the enemies of truth and democracy. I will resist the rise of a culture of impunity.”