MANILA –Women leaders, including colleagues in the previous administration, showed support for Sen. Leila de Lima on Tuesday by giving her flowers and plastic handcuffs to anticipate her arrest in connection to the drug trafficking cases filed against her.
Spotted were former Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, former Peace Adviser Teresita Deles, former Civil Service Commission chair Karina David, among other supporters of De Lima, who said the plastic handcuffs represented the fake allegations against her.
“We are women standing by Sen. De Lima and calling on all fair-minded Filipinos to uphold truth and justice and dignity of women,” David said, in a small gathering inside De Lima’s office in the Senate.
“Let us not allow the manipulation of systems that should have been dispensed fairly. No to the arrest of Sen. Leila de Lima,” she added.
David, who represented women’s group Every Woman, said they believed there was a lack of clear and direct evidence linking De Lima to the charges despite claims of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that there is sufficient ground to bring her to court.
De Lima, who previously said that she was ready to be arrested, said she was deeply moved by the show of support and had already packed up and bid her staff and family goodbye.
“I am so heartened of the gesture of my fellow women leaders,” De Lima told reporters in an interview.
She also expressed hope that her arrest would not be issued this Tuesday since it’s Valentine’s Day.
“I hope they don’t do it (the arrest) today (Tuesday). If that would be their Valentine’s gift, it would be too cruel on their part,” she quipped.
She said she had already talked to her two brothers, sister, and one of her two sons to stay strong for her because her arrest was “imminent.” She also told her staff that she does not want to see them cry.
“I want them to be psychologically prepared. I don’t want them to be shocked,” De Lima said.
She has also started packing comfortable clothes and even looked forward to having more time to read books.
The consolidated complaints against De Lima were filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), crime watchdog group Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), former NBI deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala and high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian in connection to her alleged involvement in illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison when she was still justice secretary.
Complaints filed against her include indirect bribery, violation of the Anti-Graft Law and violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
She remained hopeful that the Court of Appeals (CA) will issue a temporary restraining order against the preliminary investigation conducted by the DOJ.
The neophyte senator has so far filed two petitions before the CA to stop the DOJ from acting on the criminal complaints.