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De Lima: Justice, Vindication and Forgiveness

Leila De Lima

Kudos to Judge Gener Gito.

Yet far above his wise judgment and transcendent of Leila De Lima’s gratefulness to him is the latter’s gratefulness to and adoration of God Almighty and His amazing grace. With tears in her eyes, raising her right hand and pointing to Heaven as she exited the courtroom, she gestured as if to tell the world, “God is good! To God be the glory.”

The former senator got closer to her Creator and Lord as a result of her incarceration. “… all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”Romans 8:28

De Lima’s triumph is indeed triumph that ushers great joys and rejoicing, and exhilarating jubilation upon her and those she loves and the friends/supporters that love her, including Filipinos that still cherish truth, justice, equity/fairness, prudence and compassion to the victims of injustice like her – cheering together with the rest of the world outside.

All these are in contrast to Atty. Saul Hofilena Jr’s “legal victory” over the late, noted, beloved doctor of medicine, Dr. Iggy Agbayani Jr., who was jailed unfairly and died recently of a heart attack inside the Manila City Jail while serving his sentence – as a detained, stressed, worried, baffled, “cheerful,” lonely, good man. Bring him back to life.

Much unlike “victory” that is no victory at all, De Lima’s victory brings her liberty beyond release from her almost seven years of detention at Camp Crame. Contrary to the “victory” experience of others, De Lima’s freedom exceeds freedom’s betoken meaning, distinct from that of “victorious” others who are in dire need to be set free from hubris, guilt, remorse, reproach, shame, lament, self-worth, self-entitlement, ego, amour-propre, stricken conscience (or seared conscience) – and mea culpa.

Have a soul.

Dr. Iggy and justice quote

De Lima’s plan, however, to pursue counter charges against her tormentors and persecutors is just a continuing process on her part to seek rebuilding and complete justice. She bewailed, oozing with confidence, “They destroyed my life, that’s why I’m going to rebuild my life now. They destroyed or ruined my name, my reputation. Now that I’m free, I’m going to work hard to redeem my name, and complete vindication is the key.”

If De Lima’s nemesis would publicly ask her for forgiveness, that would be an entirely different story — could be similar to the story of Joseph and his abusive, heartless brothers in the Book of Genesis, everyone turning a new leaf for each one – via forgiveness, love and godly/humble/peaceful vindication.

De Lima’s intention, though, to help the International Criminal Court in probing human rights violations, particularly the extrajudicial killings in the bloody drug war of the past administration is and ought to be nothing personal on her part – just as she started doing the same from the time she served as the Chairperson of Human Rights Commission in 2009 and later as Justice Secretary before becoming a senator, still fighting the good fight until she was put in prison.

The matter involves rendering justice not to herself, but to the countless, numberless, hapless, helpless, powerless victims of EJK. Amos 5:24.

Praise God, the better, bigger side of De Lima’s triumph is her triumph over bitterness, hatred, pride and vengeance. Vindication and vengeance aren’t the same. To Rodrigo Duterte, De Lima (in peace and solace) has this word to tell him shortly after the court’s verdict that would set her free:

“God forgive you. God bless you.”

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