De Lima: ’This is the closest I have ever come to owning up to regret’

Published June 3, 2018, 3:41 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Hannah Torregoza

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Sunday admitted it was “one of the saddest days of her unjust detention” when she was denied the opportunity to attend her son’s graduation rites from law school.

Senator Leila de Lima (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Leila de Lima (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Today is the graduation of my son, Vincent Joshua, from law school. My son, whom I love and am very proud of. This is that day that we, as a family, and I as a parent, have been looking forward to for years now,” de Lima said in her latest dispatch from the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center where she is currently detained over drug charges.

“And never did I imagine I wouldn’t be able to be there with him, bearing witness to his triumph, and being what all mothers by definition are meant to be: the number one cheerleader and supporter of their child, as they achieve one of their lifelong dreams,” she lamented.

De Lima, nevertheless, said she is happy and proud over her son’s achievements, after graduating from the San Beda College of Law School in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

“You have hurdled your law studies under challenging circumstances – as a family man, as a father to two very young children, the elder of whom has autism, as a very patient and loving younger brother to a special brother, and, not to mention, the silently suffering son to a controversial mother, who is now a victim of persecution,” she said.

“These are no ordinary circumstances. Law school, by itself, is no cakewalk. Lesser persons would have given up on their dreams, and taken the easier way out. But not you. You are made of sterner stuff. I am both humbled and proud of the man you have become,” added the senator.

The vocal critic of the Duterte administration said “this is the closest I have ever come to owning up to regret.”

“Because this is not about me, but about my child. It is a very tangible loss to both of us. One that can’t be brought back, even when the time comes that I am vindicated and freed. This day will pass, and we will never have it back,” she bewailed.

Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 Judge Amelia Fabros-Corpuz has denied the senator’s request to attend the graduation, stating that De Lima’s presence at the school “will endanger its security” and that “her risk of flight was very high.”

De Lima, however, dismissed this allegation saying it was “blatantly false that they might as well not have bothered to try to justify it at all.”

“In my 465 days here, I have done my best not to ask for special favors. Even for this, all I asked was to be accorded the same humanitarian consideration that was shown to other high-profile detainees, who were allowed to attend their children’s graduation, their father’s birthday celebration, etc,” she pointed out.

“The unjustness and double standard is just too much to bear…I guess I just have to accept the fact that this regime cannot be benevolent towards me, to put it very mildly,” she moaned.