FORMER president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd and some of his former Cabinet members on Saturday joined opposition Sen. Leila de Lima in marking her first year in detention on drug charges.
De Lima was accused of aiding the proliferation of drugs at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa. She surrendered on February 24, 2017 and was detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center.
The senator claimed that her detention was politically motivated. She has yet to be arraigned.
Some of de Lima’s former colleagues gathered inside her detention cell to express their solidarity with her.
They heard Holy Mass officiated by Archbishop Socrates Villegas.
“I admire Leila’s strength to withstand all these challenges for the service of her countrymen,” Aquino said. “It’s normal to think and ask myself ‘until when will this [detention]continue?’ knowing the fact that there are a lot of people who believe in Leila’s innocence.”
The former president likened de Lima’s “unjust detention” to that of his father’s, former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. “I can visualize how difficult it is to be confined in a small cell.”
A series of events took place to mark de Lima’s first year in detention.
A motorcade bearing 365 roses, symbolizing each day of de Lima’s detention, preceded the day’s activities.
From the Quirino Grandstand at 8 a.m., motorcycle riders passed on the flowers to five runners, including Vicente De Lima 2nd, the senator’s younger brother, who delivered them in Camp Crame.
Other personalities who visited de Lima include Senators Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes 4th, Franklin Drilon, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino 4th, former budget secretary Florencio Abad, former social welfare secretary Dinky Soliman, former Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Ging Deles, and Reprentatives Tom Villarin and Teddy Baguilat.