De Lima’s paroxysm: Was it a script that got her too carried away?



In our post-war history, I don’t think there has ever been a public paroxysm of hysterics by a member of the Philippine Senate as demonstrated by Senator Leila de Lima the other day.

Two things I found very strange in de Lima’s paroxysm of anger, though. First, there is usually an immediate trigger for such hysterical rage, some remark made by somebody that hits straight at the heart of another person’s ego, and unhinges him or her to go into a fit. In one such case involving President Duterte, it was a question during a media briefing how he would reply to President Obama if the US leader raised the issue of human rights abuses.

In De Lima’s case, however, no reporter asked any question that could have sent her through the roof. It was she who provoked herself: “Now we saw a news item quoting Speaker Alvarez saying that somebody must be out to silence (high-profile inmate) Sebastian,” she said calmly in her press briefing.

De Lima in her paroxysm of anger: As if possessed by some other spirit, even her voice changes

De Lima in her paroxysm of anger: As if possessed by some other spirit, even her voice changes

But her succeeding statements stunned the media, as she spoke in an entirely different manner and tone, as if suddenly possessed by some demon as in those exorcist movies, a reporter at the press briefing said. (If you don’t believe me, watch the video at From that point on she kept screaming, her voice breaking so that reporters thought she would then sob uncontrollably. (She didn’t and recovered from her victim pose to a defiant one, even slamming the sheets of papers she brought with her.)

Second, such loss of total control normally occurs at some unguarded moment. But De Lima displayed such behavior in a situation requiring one to be most guarded: a press conference, before national television and radio broadcasters.

De Lima isn’t a newbie in facing the press; she’s been doing this, occasionally when she was chair of the Human Rights Commission during President Arroyo’s time, and twice or thrice a week when she was President Aquino’s justice secretary for six years. De Lima, in fact, had been among the most interviewed members of Aquino’s Cabinet. She knows that one can’t lose control before the TV news cameras. In fact, she even seems to be so deliberate, so self-conscious in her English pronunciation.

Why would somebody allow herself to lose total control at a press conference, so much so that, really, she looked like arguing with someone in some back alley.

Three explanations

There are three explanations for these anomalies in de Lima’s public outburst.

First: De Lima simply shouldn’t be a public official at all, and definitely not a Senator. Our entire government system (and rule of law) is built on belief in reason, that it is the only way really to express one’s views, argue against others’ views, and to determine what’s needed to be done. De Lima, a lawyer at that, unless she skipped a lot of her classes, is supposed to have trained in law schools not to get provoked, to keep her cool, to argue using facts and reason. De Lima demonstrated that she, instead, believes in screaming and theatrics to express her views.
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo wasn’t a lawyer, and she was so much unjustly persecuted by Aquino, with De Lima, in defiance of a Supreme Court order, even barring the ailing Arroyo from seeking urgent medical treatment abroad. She spent four years incarcerated for charges that turned out to be totally flimsy.

Has she ever faced nationwide TV, or even responded to reporters’ questions in the insane yet self-righteous way de Lima did the other day? Arroyo has been a portrait of dignity, in sharp contrast to the picture of crassness and vulgarity that was shown by de Lima.

Second: She lost it upon hearing news of the Bilibid Prison riot, in which drug lord Tony Co was killed and Jaybee Sebastian – whom two inmates claimed in the Congress hearings as having regularly given de Lima dirty money – was wounded, but alive. Sebastian now would spill the beans, and de Lima would be in big, big
trouble, which led her to panic so much she became delirious.


Same day, different banner stories, or at least one was different.

The third explanation is that de Lima’s atrocious behavior was really all scripted, a PR project, which, however, got out of control. Her PR operator must have told her: “Ma’am, you should act like Duterte’s poor victim, so much persecuted that you have become so angry, and then offer yourself to be taken as a sacrifice a-la Jesus Christ and shout: ‘Take me, I’m here.’ Then we’ll take care of the press. The banners will scream your cries of anger.”

But de Lima got so carried away by her role she overdid it, portraying herself as so deliriously angry she teetered on the verge of a breakdown.

Is that a preposterous scenario? The banner story of Philippine Daily Inquirer was de Lima’s main anti-Duterte line, “Stop this madness,” an ironic one, though, because her delivery of that line sounded like the speaker was going mad. The paper did not even report de Lima’s near-breakdown, which has been the talk of the town.
Compare that newspaper’s banner with those of other broadsheets, which reported the main news, not de Lima’s dramatic line that made her look like a heroine.

Whatever the true explanation is, De Lima has shamed herself severely I am astonished how she could still show her face in the Senate.


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  1. Quite a cynical opinion. Equally plausible is she just broke given that same week there were threats to show the supposed video etc bit presumptive for you to think otherwise and come up with theories that are less plausible than the fact she caved into the pressure she is under.lookimg at your theory re Sebastian given Aguirre had said he would testify FOR her if he came to congress then perhaps she saw her chance of the truth being revealed slipping away because of an attempt to remove him. Emphasis theory off course like yours. Instead of forming opinions like this to hit the lady put yourself in her shoes and ask how well you would standup to the pressure she is under

  2. My humble opinion is that her former driver, Ronnie Dayan, has endlessly been calling and bothering her about their involvement in the illegal drug trade. It’s karma and what goes around, comes around. Ms. Delima has finally reached her comeuppance and point of no return from her past evil doings. It’s pay back time, big time.

  3. Senator De Lima has been in the front news for quite a time; it is time to ignore her and let the wheels of justice
    run her.
    Secretary Andanar should stop spreading gossip of an impending coup against the Duterte administration cause the ninety percent (90) of the three million Filipinos in the US will not support it.
    The Cabinet Secretaries should put their acts together in order to put coherent policies envision by President Duterte.
    Six (6) years is too short to govern….Filipinos deserve not only change but significant change in government . We need to address poverty inflicted by the past administration cause poverty is the mirror of drugs,criminality and corruption in our society.

  4. De Lima love Sebastian, he was De Lima asset….meaning Sebastian was taking care of De Lima ass. Ayon nasaksak sinong babae na nagmamahal ang hindi mag hysterical. pag ang asset ny nasaksak.

  5. De Lima’s outburst is a combination of two things, scripted (bad acting at that) and she is in a panic mode. She knows that soon, Sebastien will spill everything ….. and the brave people who will be watching her video will soon see her twist, moan and grind.

    • I’d say all of the above! Delima is now so desperate that she’ll pull all strings to get the sympathy of the foreign media who’s ignorance about the real issue in the Philippines is beyond me and yet has the audacity to run a one sided news article that’s damning to the country and the president. Do your homework people!!!!!

  6. Maribel Calanda on

    All LP women are great pretenders starting from Leni Robredo whom I consider as a fake VP. De Lima is the butt of joke everywhere. Vitaliano Aguirre is correct. Justify your statements with evidence De Lima and stop the nonsense drama that you and your Leni Robredo are pulling always. Stop the stunt. You look like a villain more than a heroine. Ha ha ha mabuti nga sayo. Show us the 300 million that was lost in the raid. According to witnesses, those were turn overed to you. I really like that you end up in jail for destroying the lives of the poor Filipinos who became drug addicts with your help.

  7. perhaps, one of d5 secret fantasies is to be in showbiz. she tried her first favorite role in x-rated movies but those who reviewed it have almost one thing in common….lost of appetite. now her handler tried another one. this time as heavy dramatic actress. again it creates mixed up review. maybe d5 should try comedy next time. yup, i think she had tried it already with trillanes and motabato but failed…..even her 14m supporters are nowhere to be found, except few pieces mostly in inquirer. by default it’s horror made terribly. she really needs a total rest in peace, i mean, a break….

  8. She lost it because the whole CIA-oppositiion plan is to silent Sebastian. The plot did not materialize.

  9. The senate committee on justice and human rights should censure De Lima and bar her from making anymore public announcements or interviews while the proceedings and investigation into the issue of EJK is on going, her coming out with provocative pronouncements and in her trying to raise controversies into the issue is putting the whole proceedings in jeopardy. Otherwise, this might be what is aiming for, since the lower house is looking into her involvement with the drug lords, a scenario in order for her not to be found liable of the proliferation of the nefarious activities inside the NBP during her watch as the secretary of DOF under whose control is the NBI. The way things are going, which does not seem to be going according to plan, one could say that she dug herself deeper into the pit, the wily Drilon is doing everything a cunning politician would do – stay above the fray and let De Lima and Trillanes duke it out, inside and outside of the chamber.

  10. She acted the way she did because she knows in her heart that she reached the point of no return, D-Day has arrived , the invader has landed and she has nowhere to go.I feel sorry for her but she brought evrything to herself, no other course to go except surrender , plea for mercy even if it is too late.Not to worry she will be looking good and comfortable in ORANGE.

  11. Delima flew over the cuckoo’s nest …. must take a long rest otherwise she will be carried in a straight jacket to a padded cell…..

  12. This is the only column i appreciate considering the whole scenario and the banner of one broadsheet. Only see Mr Tiglao can see the difference. What a brilliant writer.

  13. De Lima seems to have a dual personality, she is psychopath for sure, scheming how to handle the drug lords and making them pay her is the work of an expert. She became intoxicated with the power and the money because the Aquino government knew her character too well and used her also very well. She became the barking dog, a person seeking for justice, and playing the victim card. She is very good with her act and she thought that she is smart, and she has the power plus the powerful behind her. She was soaked in money and power now her plans to oust duterte has boomeranged. Now she is the center of investigation. Facts that duterte knew for a long time, fed to him by an expresident friend. Now the tables have turned and de lima’s other personality came out in the open. She is like a tiger who wants to kill, and she can kill in her moment of rage. We can see it in her eyes, in the unspoken words behind the lies. She is one person who is willing to do anything and everything to protect herself even to the demise of those close to her. I have never seen one like her in our senate. Well, I believe not 14M people voted for her, it is the PCOS machine that manufactured her votes because the yellow company wanted a barking dog with no shame in the senate to fight for them. with the help of drilon and trillanes, they are the trinity of the jaundice club.

  14. Maybe Delima hoped to emulate Duterte’s ‘success formula’ that resonates so well among his adoring multitude, that of mad dog hysterics. Lately, I’ve been seeing formality and decorium and propriety going out the window not only in Malacanang but in all the public and private fora. We have a Justice Secretary who sees nothing wrong with openly stating that the death of an inmate would benefit Delima. We have netizens gleefully pointing at declining investor confidence and closure of some mining companies putting people out of jobs as witness to the deletrious effects of a leadership they dislike, and never mind that people are suffering because of this.

  15. May I know if Sen. Delima has a workshop class so that I can enroll in her class, shes’s very good in acting. Everyone almost belived her, until they realized it was just an act.

  16. She became hysterical upon learning that the House inquiry will show the sex video to the public. She wanted instead no less than a Manila Film Festival screening for maximum impact.

  17. When one loses his/ her COOL and become HYSTERICAL in an argument … the one who KEEPS his/her COOL would be the one to be assumed as telling the truth even though he/she is wearing false hair (Wig) on his head … he he he he he he!

  18. Sir Amb. Tiglao, with due respect to your opinion, I disagree with your today’s column. Remember, she belongs to the powerful Yellow Bloc that often use exaggerated, hystetical accusation, lies or half-truths, against any non-Yellow members. So its very elementary why (I believe) a former high school declaimer can emotionally dramatize that piece of (trash) literature. Lol! Peace!

  19. malamig n rehas on

    A lesson for the so called fighters – ‘learn to pick your battles, not all are winnable’.

  20. I totally agree with your explanations Mr. Tiglao – most especially the first one – she is not really fit to be a public official, more so a senator! I truly believe that the next honorable thing for her to do is to resign her post in the Senate, since she has totally lost her credibility and dignity…. and is now a truly ‘damaged-goods’.
    Thank you Mr. Tiglao for your accurate and un-biased analysis, there should be more people like you in the journalism world. Mabuhay po kayo.

    • Can you imagine the possible scenario if she was elected to the Supreme Court? Noynoy may be a lot of things but at least he had the good sense not to allow this woman to the SC,

  21. If indeed, Leila de Lima is as innocent as she claims to be of all the accusations being leveled at her, two questions begged to be asked; 1) Why is she the only one claiming her innocence? Hers is the lone voice proclaiming her innocence. 2) Why is no one standing up for her and defending her from all these accusations? If she is really innocent, surely her friends and allies from the previous administration would be standing up in loud protest over all this.

    By the way, Trillanes doesn’t count. As a character witness, he is worthless. For the right price, he will defend Satan himself.

  22. spot on, Mr. Tiglao. Many, too, have been astonished how she could still show her face in the senate. Many, many more are astonished that she isn’t in jail yet.

  23. vagoneto rieles on

    Senator Delima’s breakdown might have been caused by both the threat of having Sebastian “spill the beans on her”; and, the specter of all those Congressmen, sitting back and enjoying an X-rated movie starring Delima herself. These two scenarios would be enough to shame and break anyone…man or woman. In fact, others might have been broken much earlier.
    Without the intention of exculpating Senator Delima, I have to say that, she might, indeed have been broken, finally; but, she has demonstrated to her colleagues in both Houses of Congress…and to the Executive Branch… how tough and how ‘collected’ she had been throughout the ordeal.
    An interesting observation is that, it seems that there is no depth low enough…in vulgarity and barbarity…that Congress will dive into, to shame and debase a woman, “in aid of legislation”.
    “Quo vadis Filipinas”?

  24. The true self of a man / woman is seen when that man / woman is CRISIS.
    D Lima is a very explicit example. Is she really a “Lawyer” who was taught how to behave in debate / crises . What comes around goes around – SHE DID IT TO PRESIDENT GLORIA ARROYO AT THE AIRPORT BUT ARROYO BEHAVE GENTLE WOMANLY. Did (d-5) she?