Senator Leila de Lima was named one of the “Sheroes of 2019” for the fourth time for defying the President Rodrigo Duterte administration’s drug war. 

Canadian private, non-profit association of humanitarians, RINJ Foundation (RINJ), listed De Lima as a “shero” together with the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, and United States House of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

RINJ created this citation to honor the women “who smooth the path of humanity for a future of innovation, opportunity and safety of children and their families.”

“The extraordinary Shero De Lima is a Philippines’ elected Senator, lawyer, law professor, and human rights activist who has been critical of Philippines authoritarian leader Rodrigo Duterte for two decades for his admitted crimes of murder, alleged crimes against humanity (now in a complaint before the ICC) and alleged genocide as Mayor of Davao and President of the Philippines,” said RINJ.

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Since February 2017, De Lima, who is known as Duterte’s critic, has been detained in the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center for drug-related charges.

During her term as justice secretary, she allegedly permitted the proliferation of illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison from where she accepted kickback from drug trafficking activities. 

However, De Lima firmly denied her involvement in such business. 

In the meantime, US President Donald Trump has recently signed the $1.4-trillion 2020 budget that included a provision allowing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to bar Filipino officials from entering the states if he has “credible information” that they were involved in De Lima’s  “wrongful imprisonment.”

Duterte, on the other hand, responded to this, also ordered a Philippine entry ban on those who supported it including US Senators Dick Durbin, Patrick Leahy, and Edward Markey.


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