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Philippines: Help free Senator de Lima

    Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 12:19

    Instead of doing her work as a senator, Leila de Lima has been unjustly jailed for two years so far in Camp Crame Custodial Center, a prison run by the police. ©NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images


    This is a photo of Senator Leila de Lima, taken two years ago. She was waving to her supporters as she left a court in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. 

    Leila is her first name and De Lima is her last name. She is a senator who works with other citizens in the Senate to make the laws of the country. 

    Senator de Lima is famous in the Philippines and around the world, too. That’s because she has been brave enough to criticize the president of the Philippines for violating human rights. She has protested publicly about how terribly he treats his own citizens. And she disagrees strongly with how the president uses violence to fight the drug problem in the Philippines. 

    President Duterte got upset with Senator de Lima’s protests. In 2016, he said he wanted to “destroy her in public”. That’s when things got bad for her. His officials said she had been involved with people who sell drugs and that she had encouraged the use of drugs in a prison. They used that excuse to arrest her on February 24, 2017.

    Amnesty International did a detailed and careful check on those charges and believes they were made up to imprison and silence Senator de Lima. Amnesty International thinks she should never have been jailed.

    Amnesty International is also concerned about what life in prison is like for the senator. She is not allowed a computer, phone, TV, radio or air conditioner (the temperature most days is over 30 degrees). Prison officials have turned away some visitors and there have been many delays in her legal case.

    Please ask for Senator de Lima’s freedom. 


    Please write to Secretary Guevarra whose address is below.

    • Start with Dear Secretary Guevarra.
    • In your first sentence, tell him about yourself to make your message different from all the others he will get. You could tell him how old you are, where in Canada you live, how important you feel it is to be connected to the world through TV and phones, or about how essential air conditioning is on hot days.
    • Ask him to drop the charges against Senator Leila de Lima.
    • Urge him to release her and then allow her and all human rights defenders and critics in the Philippines to do their peaceful work in safety.
    • Until she is free, ask him to make sure her living conditions improve.


    Menardo I. Guevarra, Secretary
    Department of Justice
    DOJ Building, Padre Faura Street
    Manila 1000

    Postage:    $2.65
    Facebook:     Department of Justice Philippines


    On the first anniversary of Senator de Lima’s arrest last February, Amnesty International sent out a press release. You can read it at Sadly, her situation has not changed in the past year which is why letters from Canada and around the world are so important right now.

    If you have not received this Lifesaver directly from Amnesty International’s Toronto office and would like future actions, reach us at There is no cost.