Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged Filipinos to set aside their differences and instead focus their energy in working towards the common goal of protecting the country from candidates and their enablers with sinister political interests.
As the Election Day draws near, De Lima said the Filipino public, including online and street activists, should work closely together in revealing the lies and deceptions peddled by Mr. Duterte and his allies for the sake of salvaging the country's democracy.
"Sa nakalipas na halos tatlong taon, alam po natin na walang ibang pakay ang rehimeng Duterte kundi ang magwatak-watak tayo upang humina ang ating puwersa at ang ating paglaban sa mga baluktot na polisiya ng gobyerno," she said in a statement.
"Kaya naman sa yugtong ito ng ating kasaysayan, napakahalaga ng ating pagbubuklod bilang Pilipino. Nananawagan po ako sa inyong lahat: Isantabi natin ang anumang pagkakaiba, at magkaisa tayong manalangin at tumindig para manaig ang katotohanan, demokrasya, at katarungang panlipunan," she added.
While some groups and individuals may have varying opinion on matters about elections, De Lima said they should be reminded to unite for the common good and not allow unscrupulous candidates endorsed by Mr. Duterte to gain power.
The lady Senator from Bicol appealed to democracy fighters to rise above their petty squabbles and instead press on the national fight against Duterte's unjust policies that failed to resolve the problems hounding the country, including poverty and violence.
"Hindi po tayo magkakaaway kundi magkakampi. Ang tunay nating kalaban ay kahirapan, karahasan at ang mga kabuktutan at di-makataong pamamalakad ni Duterte. Ito ang sama-sama nating tutulan at labanan," she said.
The former justice secretary has repeatedly encouraged the voting public to unite in promoting candidates with proven competence and genuine concern for the Filipinos, referring to the eight members of united opposition slate "Otso Diretso."
They are Sen. Bam Aquino, Rep. Gary Alejano, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, civic leader Sam Gutoc, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, election lawyer Romy Macalintal, former senator Mar Roxas and ex-Rep. Erin Tanada.
De Lima also thanked her friends and supporters for inspiring and helping her to push for her causes and advocacies in these challenging times in her life.
"Sa aking mga kaibigan at tagasuporta, lagi ko pong ipinagpapasalamat sa Diyos ang patuloy ninyong tiwala at pakikiisa. Dahil sa inyo, nananatili akong matatag sa kabila ng mabibigat na pagsubok," she said.
Although detained on trumped-up drug charges fabricated by the government at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City, De Lima continues to speak about important national issues and file meaningful bills and resolutions in the Senate.
Source: Senate of the Philippines