De Lima marks 58th birthday in detention

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COLLEAGUES of detained Sen. Leila de Lima in the Senate minority expressed their support to the lawmaker as she marked her 58th birthday in a simple gathering at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

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Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon extended his warm wishes to the senator whom he described as a “dependable friend” who stands by her principles to help preserve democracy.

“Keep up the good fight, Leila. Be assured that we will always be there behind you to support you,” Drilon said in a video message sent to the senator.

Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th urged de Lima to be strong while in detention, and assured her that her allies in the Senate would remain behind her.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros for her part said de Lima’s courage in opposing rampant killings under the Duterte administration’s war on drugs would always be remembered as a patriotic sacrifice that is “one for the books.”

“In these trying times, your voice and courage continue to remain strong and inspire many. Truly, nothing can bring a good woman down,” she added.

De Lima drew the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte after she initiated a Senate investigation into the spate of extrajudicial killings linked to the administration’s war on drugs.

She was arrested in February on drug-related cases, based on the testimony of prison inmates linking her to the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison during her tenure as Justice secretary in the previous administration.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan said he would continue to pray for de Lima’s freedom as he assured her that he would support her advocacies.

Ligayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas officiated Mass, along with Fathers Albert Alejo, Robert Reyes, Hector Cañon and Flavie Villanueva, inside the PNP Custodial Center.

The prelate thanked de Lima for “inspiring, touching, challenging and teaching people how to love God and His people.”

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