For the second consecutive year, American magazine Foreign Policy named detained Senator Leila de Lima as one of its Leading Global Thinkers.
“From the beginning, (Senator) de Lima knew how dangerous her unfettered criticism of her country’s leader might prove,” Benjamin Soloway, an associate editor of Foreign Policy, wrote.
“But de Lima has refused to shut up. The government is trying to ‘totally silence dissent and cultivate a culture of double standard of justice, where those allied with the president and his family are accorded impunity,’” he added.
“Now, de Lima fears that Duterte could go even further to silence her. Today she refuses all prison rations, eating only food brought by visitors. While she fears for her safety, she is convinced that the international community’s scrutiny of Duterte’s rule is helping keep her alive,” he narrated.
De Lima is detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame over drug charges. She is accused of coddling and earning from drug lords at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) during her term as secretary of Justice
De Lima allegedly allowed convicts to sell drugs and enjoy lavish accommodations and perks, like hotel-like cells and concerts held at the NBP, in exchange for millions in drug money. She is accused of using the money for her campaign for the Senate.
The senator joins the list of this year’s Leading Global reThinkers of 2017 for “openly defying President Duterte and his brutal war on drugs and paying the price with her freedom.”
Early this year, she was also recognized by Time Magazine as one of 100 Most Influential People, one of the Icons, by Amnesty International as one of the notable Women Human Rights Defenders in 2017, and more recently by Liberal International as “Prize for Freedom” Awardee for 2018, among others.
This year’s Leading Global reThinkers include South Korea President Moon Jae-in, United Kingdom Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbin, French President Emmanuel Macron, US Senator Kamala Haris, artist and human rights activist Ai Weiwei, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Halley, among others.
Foreign Policy says it selects annually a distinguished roster of people who have made an important impact on fields such as politics, diplomacy, science, and the arts.
This year, it added, the magazine acknowledges its honorees as Global reThinkers — individuals from around the world whose actions are disrupting the status quo and impacting countless lives.
Last year, the Foreign Policy magazine also named De Lima on its list of Leading Global Thinkers for her vocal opposition to the unabated spate of extrajudicial and summary killings in the country.
She was honored “for standing up to an extremist leader” as one of the 13 Global Thinkers in the “Challengers” category under the 100 leading global thinkers for 2016.
The Foreign Policy cited how De Lima bravely refused to be silenced by the blatant and incessant attacks by President Duterte’s allies as she stood her ground and vowed for her innocence against charges against her.
Among the ranks of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers include former US State Department Hillary Clinton, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. /cbb