Express Week

'Justice' elevates, anchors people - De Lima

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As her unjust detention nears its second year, Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has shared her personal reflection on the true meaning of justice - a term that is often downplayed by the present administration - as "Word of the Year" in 2018.

De Lima, a strong advocate of social justice and human rights, said she realized, among others, that justice elevates people and gives true meaning to the virtues they aspire to.

"What is power without justice? Tyranny. What is peace without justice? Repression. What is productivity without justice? Slavery. What is prosperity without social justice? Exploitation. What is exploration without environmental justice? Disaster," De Lima wrote in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 442.

She noted that "What is 'justice'?" is a question that many people all over the world wondered about in 2018, considering that it was the top lookup at Merriam-Webster. com.

Note that US publishing company Merriam-Webster has named "justice" as its Word of the Year for 2018, with it being searched 74 percent more than in 2017.

De Lima seized the moment in recalling what Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said, calling her detention as "one of the grossest injustices" in recent memory in his dissenting opinion on the SC ruling dismissing her Petition for Certiorari in 2017.

"I, of course, would be the most surprised, as it is next to impossible, if this Administration ever does the right thing and release me. But it only makes me ponder about the word 'justice' and its antonym, 'injustice', even more," she shared.

In her days of most unjust and unfair detention, De Lima said she was able to define justice as something that "anchors" people, thus preventing them from "hurtling dangerously and uncontrollably into space."

Likewise, the former justice secretary said she realized that "injustice" is not the complete absence of justice but the "abuse, misuse and perversion" of justice.

"So, really, what we should takeaway from 2018 is that we should be more careful about the people we trust," she said.

"The greatest harm comes from the enemy we did not immediately recognize, the one that perpetrates the gravest acts of betrayal of public trust. It takes many forms, one of them being 'Injustice,'" she added.

Considered as a leading prisoner of conscience, De Lima is currently detained in Camp Crame, Quezon City for trumped-up drug charges fabricated by the Duterte administration, borne out of Duterte's personal vendetta against her.

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