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DISPATCH FROM CAMP CRAME Sen. De Lima on her fellow Irigueños

SOME of my kababayans from Iriga City, mostly Manila-based, visited me recently, in groups and in succession. Another group came this afternoon. Without exception, each of them, man or woman, could not control his/her tears upon seeing me. (Mr. Wilfredo Villanueva, a brilliant and prolific writer/blogger, was witness to one such scenario.) They cried again upon leaving at the close of visiting hours. While deeply moved by such outpouring of emotions, I would be in my usual composed self, putting up a brave front, refusing to be drowned in the river of gloom. I know why these kababayans of mine are in unison, bared their hearts out, agonizing over the fate that befell one of their own. They know me and my family (we’re full-blooded Irigueños). They watched me grow in a happy and active childhood under the watchful nurturing of a highly respected disciplinarian father, consistently achieving academic honors, and going places, so to speak, starting with an exciting election law practice until endowed with unexpected appointments to crucial governments and ultimately, an uphill yet successful run as a first time national candidate. They are proud witnesses to my life’s struggles and triumphs. And now this. To them, my present ordeal is simply unimaginable, unfathomable, and unbelievable. It’s an unacceptable aberration in my colorful life. They know and can attest that the things my accusers say I have done and/or capable of doing are not in my DNA. My fellow Irigueños feel my pain. They know I’m innocent. And that’s all that matters to me—people believing in me, strongly standing by and with me, keeping the faith... Dios mabalos kaninyo ngamin! Ipangadyi ninyo tabi ako pirmi. (Thank you all! Please pray for me always.) SEN. LEILA DE LIMA Camp Crame, Quezon City Dispatch No. 102

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