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 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.

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.

More from Foreign Policy

A worker cuts the nose off the last Ukraine's Tupolev-22M3, the Soviet-made strategic aircraft able to carry nuclear weapons at a military base in Poltava, Ukraine on Jan. 27, 2006. A total of 60 aircraft were destroyed  according to the USA-Ukrainian disarmament agreement.
A worker cuts the nose off the last Ukraine's Tupolev-22M3, the Soviet-made strategic aircraft able to carry nuclear weapons at a military base in Poltava, Ukraine on Jan. 27, 2006. A total of 60 aircraft were destroyed according to the USA-Ukrainian disarmament agreement.

Why Do People Hate Realism So Much?

The school of thought doesn’t explain everything—but its proponents foresaw the potential for conflict over Ukraine long before it erupted.

Employees watch a cargo ship at a port in China, which is experiencing an economic downturn.
Employees watch a cargo ship at a port in China, which is experiencing an economic downturn.

China’s Crisis of Confidence

What if, instead of being a competitor, China can no longer afford to compete at all?

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies in the U.S. Senate in Washington on Sept. 24, 2020.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies in the U.S. Senate in Washington on Sept. 24, 2020.

Why This Global Economic Crisis Is Different

This is the first time since World War II that there may be no cooperative way out.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang applaud at the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 11.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang applaud at the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 11.

China Is Hardening Itself for Economic War

Beijing is trying to close economic vulnerabilities out of fear of U.S. containment.