The House Committee on Justice is not ruling out the showing of a “sex video” of Sen. Leila de Lima despite protests from women lawmakers and apparently also from the public.
Rep. Rey Umali of Oriental Mindoro made the statement even as at least 40 lawmakers, including males, protested the showing of the alleged sex tape in a congressional probe of links of de Lima, a former Justice secretary, on the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa City (Metro Manila).
Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd had said he was considering showing the “sex video” of de Lim that, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte said, if proven authentic would establish a romantic relationship between de Lima with her former driver, Ronnie Dayan.
President Rodrigo Duterte has accused de Lima of receiving drug money from NBP inmates thru Dayan but he never presented documentation.
The prisoners who accused de Lima of receiving payola from them, on the other hand, testified during the House justice panel probe that the senator got the payoffs from their fellow inmate, Jaybee Sebastian.
They, however, admitted that they have never talked with de Lima.
“If the DOJ [Department of Justice] says they want to play the [sex]video, somebody will support that, while others will object. As committee chairman, my role is to conduct orderly proceedings, so we would probably divide the House. And we’ll make the decision,” Umali said in a radio interview.
The House justice committee resumes its investigation ofon the Bilibid drug trade on October 6.
“As the chairman, I don’t even vote. I will have to give way to the body to make the decision. I don’t want to preempt what they would like to do. I will play by it ear what would happen… and hopefully people will come to a sense of dignity, a sense of decency,” Umali said.
“[Also] as the chairman, I have to listen to everyone. At the end of the day, if we cannot agree, then let us divide the House and vote upon it. I think it is the better way… that is democratic,” he added.
But for Dinagat Islands Rep. Arlene Bag-ao, who is among the 40 lawmakers who opposed the planned showing of the alleged sex tape, airing it is not just an attack on de Lima but an attack on women.
“This is not about hatred. This is aimed at degrading women. The issue is drugs. Drugs do not choose gender. The question here is, do they have evidence that she indeed received drug money? Or are they just desperate and so they are hoisting this sex video?” Bag-ao, de Lima’s fellow Liberal Party lawmaker, said in a radio interview.
“Sex videos do not establish relationships. It aims to tell us that a woman is immoral and mean, and that she should not be believed. What does it have to do with the drug issue? The most hurtful in all of these is that her womanhood is being attacked,” the lawmaker, a lawyer like Umali, added.
If the sex video was shown, Bag-ao warned that this would result in devastating consequences for women.
“If this can be done against a senator, the same thing can be done to anybody… to our woman sisters, to the poor women in communities. What kind of esteem do we have for our women if we allow these things in a public debate? That we don’t respect women anymore?” she said.
“We can’t do this to women. This is about every woman who is being accused, regardless of who she is. If we are accusing somebody of something, let’s go straight to facts and relevance of the evidence,” Bag-ao added.