A certain Efren Tercias posted a meme showing the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison and his wife, Julieta de Lima. But what is eye-catching is the fact that the meme claimed that “Julieta de Lima is Sister of ‘DOJ Leila de Lima’.”
The meme then went on to say, “Until now, you do not know that Aquino’s Regime is run by Communist Party. You are blindfolded by a Yellow Ribbon. The root caused of Martial Law.”
But if you look at the comment section, a commenter, Adz Coderias, posted a link to an ABS-CBN report with the headline, “De Lima: So what if I’m Joma’s kin?” The commenter also said that the senator and Sison’s wife are not sisters, but mere relatives.
The ABS-CBN report in July 2009 noted how de Lima reacted to a statement of Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD) Rep. Pastor Alcover Jr. who said that she is a relative of Sison’s wife.
“Well if you’re asking about Juliet de Lima, the wife of Joma Sison, well I’ve never denied that. Many people know that the family of Juliet are our relatives,” de Lima said during an interview on ANC’s “Top Story.”
The senator added that all the de Limas in her hometown are relatives.
“You see in our place, in Iriga City, all the de Limas there are our relatives. I even asked my father a few minutes ago, because I’m also not sure – I’m not sure as to the degree of the relationship – all I know is that [she is a] distant relative. And my father is also not very sure, [but] he said it is probably the third degree. Third cousin, they are third cousins. He is third cousins with Juliet and her siblings,” she explained.
De Lima clarified that she has never hidden her relation to the CPP founder’s wife, adding that it was “surprising” how Alcover and Jovito Palparan brought this connection up.
“I’ve never denied it, many people know about it, and so I’m surprised by this stance of Mr. Alcover and Mr. Palparan. All of a sudden they are raising this issue of my relationship with the wife of Joma. I actually consider that a nuisance thing,” she said, adding that both men were “trying to muddle” her investigation of the alleged abduction and torture of Melissa Roxas.
During this time, de Lima was the chairman of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and was investigating the case of Roxas, a Filipino American activist suspected of being involved with the New People’s Army (NPA).
De Lima also said that her being related to Sison’s wife never interfered with her work as CHR chair, even offering to have her family’s ideology.
“They can check out the ideology of our family, they can check our family background. My father, Vicente de Lima, used to be a commissioner of the Commission on Elections during the time of Christian Monsod. My aunt now, Lilian de Lima, is the director general of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority. I have other relatives in government,” she said.
She denied allegations about her being biased towards communists.
“All these allegations of bias… I’ve said this before, I’m biased, and I’m consistently biased in favor of human rights and in favor of human rights victims, because that’s part of our mandate, the institution, the CHR,” she said.
As for her blood relations, she said, “You can’t choose your relatives. And what’s wrong with that? So what? Hindi naman ‘yon ang issue.”
Whoever made the meme promoting that now Senator Leila de Lima and Joma’s wife, Julieta de Lima, are sisters might have misheard it, or might be deliberately throwing shade at the senator. But as she said, you cannot choose who you’re related with. You’re born with it and as long as she won’t let it affect how she delivers on her duties as a government official, then being blood-related would not be an issue.
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