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Open your eyes, speak up and expose the truth.
This was Senator Leila de Lima’s call to the Filipino people as the country commemorates the National Heroes Day this Monday. “Ngayon po ay muling nahaharap ang ating bayan sa panibagong hamon at krisis— ang pagbabaluktot sa katotohanan at ang pananahimik sa kabila ng mga nangyayaring karahasan at pagyurak sa karapatan ng mamamayan,” De Lima said in a statement.
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(Now, our country is facing another challenge and crisis—the twisting of truth and the silence in the midst of violence and the violation of the rights of the people.) “Ang pundasyon ng ating mga batayang prinsipyo ay sinusubok hindi lamang ng masasamang elemento, kundi pati na rin ng mga nasa kapangyarihan. Para ilihis tayo sa mga tunay na isyu, may mga pwersang nagpapakalat ng kasinungalingan at pilit na sinusupil ang ating demokrasya.” (The foundation of our basic principles is being tested not only by evil elements, but also by those in power. To distract us from the true issues, there are forces that spread lies and terrorize our democrazy.)
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“Sa harap ng mga panlilinlang at kawalan ng pagpapahalaga sa moralidad at sa ating dignidad, magwawalang-kibo na lamang ba tayo? Hahayaan ba nating pangunahan tayo ng takot at bukas-makalawa ay maging biktima na rin ng karahasan at mga pang-aabuso?” she asked. (In the face of deceit and the loss of our value in morality and our dignity, will we just stay silent? Will we let fear get the better of us and eventually become victims of violence and abuse?)
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De Lima reminded the people that our heroes did not fight for the truth only to allow lies and deceptions to prevail all over again. She said Filipinos did not also fight for their countrymen only to end up later killing each other. “Malinaw ang hamon sa bawat isa: Makiambag upang manaig ang batas sa halip na dahas; ang mamulat at isiwalat ang katotohanan. Gaya ng ating mga bayani, nawa’y maging alagad tayo ng malasakit, katarungan, at huwarang paglilingkod sa ating kapwa at minamahal na bansa,” the senator further said.
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(The challenge is clear to each one: Contribute in order for justice to prevail instead of violence; open our eyes and expose the truth. Like our heroes, let’s be followers of caring, justice, and an example for others and loving our country.) De Lima has been vocal against alleged extrajudicial killings since the new administration of President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office. Despite personal attacks launched against her by Duterte himself, the lady senator pushed through with the Senate investigation on the killings as chair of the committee on justice and human rights.