Facebook page “Netizen” posted a YouTube video of Senator Leila de Lima, with a video title saying, “De Lima Reacts: I Do Not Oppose Duterte on Human Rights.”
The admin of the page even seemed to taunt the senator with its caption – “Talaga lang ha..o hindi mo lang masabi sa harapan ni President Duterte…”
Last year, Duterte and de Lima engaged in a word war when the latter condemned the former for the Davao Death Squad (DDS) and summary executions.
It was even revealed that the National Bureau of Investigation has been investigating the DDS since 2015.
But did de Lima, who has always expressed her opposition against what she deemed as President Rodrigo Duterte’s “anti-human rights policies,” finally giving in and staying mum where he is involved?
After the President’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25, the press was quick to gather statements and reactions from the government officials and even celebrities who graced the event. But one of those whose reaction was eagerly awaited was Duterte’s constant figure in the opposition, de Lima, especially where human rights issues are concerned.
The press was successful in getting a reaction from her about Duterte’s speech. As expected, her stance against what she deemed as the President’s “anti-human rights policies,” which she expressed even before he was inaugurated into office, prompted the press to ask her about what she thought of Duterte’s specific statement on human rights.
Based on the video clip above, de Lima was asked what her reaction was to Duterte’s SONA. She said that she is satisfied with Duterte’s SONA, “generally,” after commenting that it was “lengthy.”
Then, she was asked about this specific statement uttered by the President – “Human rights cannot be used as a shield or an excuse to destroy the country.”
De Lima noted that Duterte mentioned something about human rights several times throughout his speech. She added, “Although the first time he mentioned that is that human rights should be for the purpose of uplifting human dignity.”
The senator said that she definitely agrees with how Duterte said that human rights should be used to uphold human dignity.
“Basically, especially with respect to you know in upholding human dignity, of course. And human dignity for everyone because human rights is universal. Human rights is for everyone,” de Lima said.
She added that she did not see anything “intrinsically wrong” with Duterte’s statement, further emphasizing that everyone is entitled to his or her human rights.
This means that de Lima only agreed with Duterte’s specific statement about human rights as a weapon for everyone to maintain human dignity. But this did not mean that she will stop opposing Duterte and his policies if they are leaning towards violating human rights. Whoever posted the video could have misinterpreted the senator’s reactions or it was a deliberate move on their part to mislead their audience.
De Lima also opposes the restoration of the death penalty, one of the Duterte administration’s priority bills to fight drugs and crime.
“Summary execution is murder. Summary execution is criminal,” she said.
The senator even planned on filing a bill to counter death penalty, calling it a qualified reclusion perpetua bill. She said that would be an alternative to execution as a punishment for the “most heinous crimes.’
De Lima said before, “When it comes to anti-human rights policies I will definitely be an opposition, oppositionist and a fiscalizer,” and she will remain so, despite what that YouTube video’s title claimed after misinterpreting the senator’s reaction.
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