Minority senators and colleagues in government have conveyed their greetings and good wishes to Senator Leila M. de Lima who is celebrating her 58th birthday today.
Speaking in separate video recordings, De Lima's colleagues expressed their appreciation for her unwavering efforts in promoting human rights and freedom as the Filipino people suffer injustices under the Duterte administration.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros said: "Sa aking mahal na kabaro, Sen. Leila, sa kabila ng lahat, happy birthday! In these trying times, your voice and courage continue to remain strong and inspire many. Truly, nothing can bring a good woman down. This administration can lock up the opposition, they can even deliver sexist propaganda online and off, but Leila I'm confident that time and history will judge today in truth and justice's favor."
Hontiveros noted De Lima's courage to oppose the rampant killings in the present administration that eventually led to her detention will always be remembered as a patriotic sacrifice that is "one for the books."
Note that De Lima drew the ire of the President after she initiated a Senate investigation into the spate of extrajudicial killings and summary executions under the current administration's murderous war on drugs barely two weeks after she assumed the Senate post.
Also extending his warm wishes to the former justice secretary, Sen. Franklin Drilon said he is thankful for having a colleague and a "dependable friend" in the person of De Lima.
"I am happy to greet you because I have a friend, you, who stands by her principles no matter what the cause is, in order that you can help preserve democracy in our country. Keep up the good fight, Leila. Be assured that we will always be there behind you to support you," he said.
Sen. Bam Aquino, meanwhile, urged De Lima to keep strong while in detention, and assured her that "we are behind you."
To keep matters light, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan and Former Sen. Mar Roxas greeted De Lima with heartfelt messages with a touch of humor.
"I heard you are now celebrating the 30th anniversary of your 28th birthday. Happy birthday to you," Pangilinan said in jest, while Mar greeted, "congratulations on having reached your 38th birthday!"
On a serious note, Pangilinan said he would continue to pray for De Lima's freedom as he assured her that he would support her advocacies.
Roxas said the birthday present that he could offer the neophyte senator is his continued prayers and support and his continued steadfast standing with [her] for what is right, what is true and what is good.
Aside from sending his birthday wishes for the Senator, former Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya took the opportunity to apologize to De Lima for failing to visit her in Camp Crame. He, however, promised to pay her a visit soon.
Former Rep. Walden Bello expressed optimism that De Lima's birthday wish will be granted in the right time.
"It's going to be a hard fight because MalacaAang is throwing everything at her and she's number one public enemy of the President but on the other hand, I'm confident that even if it takes very long, Sen. De Lima will be vindicated," he said.
In a recent interview, De Lima said her birthday wish is to be vindicated from the trumped up drug charges fabricated by the Duterte administration filed against her.
Also part of De Lima's well-wishers were former Budget Secretary Butch Abad, Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, Northern Samar Rep.Raul Daza, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat and some of her supporters from advocacy group Alitaptap.
De Lima will celebrate her birthday today in detention for the first time, to be attended by family, relatives, and colleagues.
Source: Senate of the Philippines