De Lima to launch e-book on ‘Dispatches from Crame’

Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s first electronic book will be formally launched at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Quezon City on Friday, Feb. 23, to be attended by family, supporters, and fellow human rights advocates.

Sen. Leila M. de Lima

The book, titled “Dispatches from Crame I,” contains a selection of more than 100 of De Lima’s handwritten statements from her detention at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center, in Quezon City on topics such as EJKs and the war on drugs, governance, and social justice.

“Without access to any electronic gadget and communication device, the written word is my only weapon while in detention,” De Lima said.

“In these challenging times where the government aims to silence dissent, my pen and paper help me express my thoughts on important issues and share my feelings about my current situation,” she added.

Since her arrest in Feb. 24, 2017, De Lima has so far issued 244 dispatches about her views and stands on social, economic and political issues, including her reflections about the political “persecution” in the hands of the Duterte administration.

In the e-book, some of the notable dispatches included were “Dear loved ones,” “Dear dad,” “I’m not the only one suffering, fighting,” “I cannot be silenced,” “No Regrets,” “Woman-bashing in Congress,” “What destabilization?” and “Why blame the media?”

The lawmaker personally designed the artwork on the cover of the book, which shows a bird called “pipit.” She said the inspiration behind her sketch is the Filipino folk song “Ang Pipit” by National Artist Levi Celerio, which speaks of a man’s cruelty to a defenseless bird.

“Somehow, I can relate with the bird because I have been perennially targeted by Duterte and his minions. But still, no attacks can silence me,” she said.

Written over a period of one year since De Lima was detained, “Dispatches from Crame I” carries foreword by Dr. Sylvia “Guy” E. Claudio, a doctor of medicine who also holds a PhD in psychology.

The book also carries words of admiration for De Lima from prominent personalities, including former president Benigno “PNoy” Aquino, former senator Rene Saguisag, former CHR chairperson Etta Rosales, Deputy Asia Director of Human Rights Watch Phelime Kine, former Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, and bloggers JoeAm, Will Villanueva and Candy Cruz-Datu/Cham Clowder, among others.

“The electronic reader containing all of Senator Leila de Lima’s many-splendored dispatches from Camp Crame, where she remains unjustly detained–should serve to remind us all that not everyone is cowed by tyranny…” Saguisag wrote.

“…Her voice echoes far beyond her prison walls and is an inspiration to those both in the Philippines and beyond who seek accountability for the thousands of deaths linked to the Duterte government’s murderous ‘war on drugs,'” Kine stated.

De Lima remains detained inside the national police headquarters in Camp Crame since Feb. 24, 2017 over illegal drug trade charges based on testimonies by convicted felons.

Despite the legal battle she is facing, De Lima continues to fulfill her electoral mandate as a senator even while she is in detention. In 2017 alone, she has filed 24 bills and 48 resolutions in the Senate.

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