Letters

A Message From Philippine Sen. Leila de Lima

The 2017 Global Thinker hopes that the world will "keep watching the Philippines."

Philippine Senator Leila de Lima waves to supporters after appearing in court outside Manila on Feb. 24. (Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images)
Philippine Senator Leila de Lima waves to supporters after appearing in court outside Manila on Feb. 24. (Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images)

Philippine Sen. Leila de Lima — whom Foreign Policy named a 2017 Global Thinker for her open defiance of President Rodrigo Duterte — was unable to attend the Global Thinkers event in Washington on Monday because she has been in jail since February.

Amnesty International has called the charges against her a “blatant attempt by the Philippine government to silence criticism of President Duterte.”

De Lima was a Global Thinker in 2016 as well, and attended the event in person, which made her absence this year all the more stark.

FP Editor in Chief Jonathan Tepperman read aloud at the reception a brief message from the senator, passed along by some of her aides who were in attendance:

President Duterte and his minions have not stopped demonizing, slut-shaming, and persecuting me.

State-sponsored extrajudicial killings, fake news, and lies continue unabated.

As no succor from pliant courts is forthcoming, with our democratic institutions under attack, an opposition that is decimated and dissents crushed, I’m prepared for the long haul.

No high concrete walls, barbed wires, or caged environment can silence me. I remain free in spirit and unbroken. I’m not giving up on my causes for truth, justice, and human rights.

To the world, keep watching the Philippines.

Read the 2017 Global Thinkers profile of de Lima here.

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