SAYING that she needed to get rid of the “demon” who has turned her life into a “nightmare,” Senator Leila De Lima on Monday asked the Supreme Court (SC) to stop President Rodrigo Duterte from making public statements that malign and degrade her dignity as a woman and as a human being.
In a 26-page petition for writ of habeas data, De Lima asked the SC to stop the President and his men from collecting and using information about her private affairs beyond the dictates of their official functions or public concern.
“I’m sick and tired of being a victim who is always on the defense. I choose to stand up,” De Lima said in a news conference after filing her petition.
“First I am here to exorcise my demon. He wears a crown and sits in a throne now but that should not shield him from being held responsible for launching a personal vendetta against one of his own citizens just to vindicate perceived personal blight his manhood suffered seven year ago,” she added.
“His lofty position should not be used to perpetuate his personal evil designs against one woman. Ang paglapit ko sa Korte Suprema ang paraan ko para iwaksi ang demonyong pilit ginagawang bangungot ang buhay ko (this is my way of banishing the demon that wants to make my life a nightmare),” she added.
Citing the instances when the President subjected her to crude verbal attacks, the senator said she has to fight “even if I have to step in untested waters.”
She noted that the verbal attacks and threats against her are not covered by presidential immunity from suit because these are not the official acts of a President.
De Lima argued these personal verbal attacks and threats blatantly violated Republic Act (RA) 6713 and 9710 — the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees” and “Magna Carta of Women.”
“The writ of habeas data provides a judicial remedy to protect a person’s right to control information regarding oneself, particularly in instances where such information is being collected though unlawful means in order to achieve unlawful ends… the proceedings for the issuance of the writ of habeas data does not entail ay findings for criminal, civil or administrative culpability,” she added.
The senator also asked the high tribunal to compel the President to identify the country that reportedly helped him listen to her private conversations, the manner and means by which he listened to it, and the sources of information about her private affairs.
Duterte in August admitted being given “intercepts” of conversation by a “friendly country” containing conversations that would establish the role of Ronnie Dayan, De Lima’s former driver and alleged lover, in the illegal drug operation inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
The President also admitted listening to the conversations that were mostly “lovers talk.”
“This ‘show(s) that he (the President) has been collecting information or has caused the collection of information about petitioner’s private life through unlawful means in order to achieve unlawful ends – to vilify and shame her in public,” De Lima said.