Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has supported the recent call by United States (US) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to investigate the attempted assassination of American paralegal volunteer for the Ifugao Peasant Movement (IPM) Brandon Lee who was recently airlifted back to his hometown in San Francisco.
In her Twitter account managed by her staff, De Lima retweeted the recent post of Pelosi in the social networking service in which the US House Speaker pressed the Duterte administration to probe the “disturbing crime” against Lee.
“Grateful that Brandon Lee has returned home to SF for refuge and care after being brutally shot in the Philippines, where he was fighting for environmental and indigenous peoples’ rights. I have encouraged the Philippine government to investigate this disturbing crime,” read the tweet of Pelosi posted last Oct. 28
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said the government should exhaust all efforts to ensure that Lee’s perpetrators are brought to justice and put an end to the continued attacks against human rights defenders like him here.
“The government should leave no stone unturned in investigating the attempted assassination of Mr. Lee by looking at all possible angles for the attack against him that placed his life in danger,” she said.
“This culture of violence often targeting rights activists and defenders who are bravely fighting for the rights of the vulnerable must stop now,” she added.
Based on media reports, Lee was recently flown back to SF via medical airlift more than two months after he was attacked by still-unknown assailant and gravely wounded in front of his house in Lagawe, Ifugao last Aug. 5.
Note that Lee, a Chinese-American journalist who was raised in the US and was red-tagged by the military in 2015, was left in coma after he was attacked and shot four times in the body after fetching his child from school on the said day.
Lee’s mother reportedly said that her son had suffered eight cardiac arrests following the shooting, but he was stable enough to make the trip back to his hometown in SF before the end of October.
The Lee matriarch likewise urged the public to “not permit this failed assassination attempt on my son’s life be in vain,” noting that “there are tens of thousands of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines who remain unknown because they don’t receive the same international attention as Brandon.”
De Lima, for her part, reiterated that the government should stop turning a blind eye on the worsening human rights abuses in the country and start valuing justice and respecting the rule of law.
“With all the violence happening in our country under the Duterte regime, it is my hope that the Human Rights Defenders Protection Bill, which I reintroduced as among my first 10 priority measures this 18th Congress, will be given enough support by my colleagues,” said the former justice secretary.
The lady Senator from Bicol has incessantly called on her colleagues to support the swift passage into law of the Human Rights Defenders Protection Bill, which underscored the obligations of the state and public authorities to respect, promote, protect and fulfill the rights of rights workers.