Former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s posturing as a self-styled defender of human rights is sheer “hypocrisy,” according to Graham Chua Lim, who claimed to be one of those who suffered “injustice” at the hands of the former Cabinet official.
Lim, the secretary general of the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP), said he has been in “exile” in an Asian country three years since de Lima issued a circular that prevented his return from Singapore in December 2012.
“For someone who was once the head of the Human Rights commission, it was utterly disgusting for the Honorable de Lima to violate the same human rights she was sworn to respect under the previous administration but somehow forgot to practice under the current dispensation,” Lim said in an Open Letter to the Public he sent to the local media.
“And now, the Honorable de Lima is even seeking a mandate as a Senator of the Republic of the Philippines. The Honorable de Lima, a self-styled advocate of human rights before and now of justice, selective though it has been under the current administration, wants your vote,” he said.
Lim said he was “born, raised, lived and studied” in the Philippines until he was forced into exile because of de Lima’s directive.
He added that the former Justice chief “unduly” reversed a department ruling declaring him a “stateless” person in September 2010 or one who may be allowed permanent residency in the Philippines. Because of De Lima’s circular, Lim said he was declared an undesirable alien.
“Moreover, the Honorable de Lima even applied a ruling that was not yet in existence at the time of my ‘exile’ to justify my deportation in December 2012. There’s no honor in hypocrisy, as I was taught by my parents as a young kid. The time-tested adage is applicable in the Philippine general elections in May,” he added.
“Until now, I have been unable to return to the land of my birth because of a political conspiracy between the Justice department and some envious sports officials who until now see me as a threat to their monopolistic control of Philippine sports leadership,” Lim pointed out.
He described the treatment he got from his detractors and de Lima as “ridiculous,” especially since de Lima allegedly allowed herself to be used by “the powers that be” in local sports.
De Lima’s circular, Lim explained, should apply only to cases that occurred beginning October 2012 and not to those people declared “stateless” before then.
Neil A. Alcober