De Lima recognized as among ‘Women to Watch’ in Southeast Asia
Opposition Senator Leila de Lima has been named as one of Southeast Asia’s “Women to Watch” for inspiring people as she continue “her fight against the Duterte administration from behind bars.”
The Diplomat, a Tokyo-based international current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region, gave such distinction to the detained lawmaker as it recognized the work, legacy, and influence of prominent women in Southeast Asia during the International Women’s Day last March 8.
The publication described the senator as someone who was “not silenced” despite being locked up in jail since February 2017 for drug-related charges, which she repeatedly claimed to be trumped-up and politically-motivated.
“She has continued her fight against the Duterte administration from behind bars and inspired progressive Filipinos and international human rights activists alike, including Pope Francis,” The Diplomat wrote in its article.
“Her refusal to stay quiet is an important message often obscured that while Duterte continues to enjoy high polling and support in the country, there is a robust resistance determined to make the Philippines safe,” it added.
It may be recalled that in August 2017, De Lima received a rosary from Pope Francis, who, according to the Philippine National Police Chaplain, promised to pray for her.
The Diplomat also recalled the misogynistic attacks hurdled against De Lima by President Rodrigo Duterte and his supporters.
“In a particularly vicious and misogynistic series of attacks, De Lima was accused by Duterte and his supporters of being engaged in sexual affairs and importing drugs and arms into the country. These charges led to her imprisoned in February 2017,” it noted.
Aside from De Lima, The Diplomat also recognized Malaysian activist Maria Chin Abdullah, Indonesia’s Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti, former Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Last March 10, the Asian Correspondent also named De Lima as among the “Power Women of Southeast Asia.” /kga
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