DAVAO CITY Mayor Rodrigo Duterte threatened to campaign against whoever the administration will field in next year’s elections if the Liberal Party (LP) includes Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in its senatorial ticket.
The tough-talking mayor, who is also rumored be running for higher office, was reacting to de Lima’s statement that she would not run in the same ticket with Duterte as “a matter of principle.”
The Justice chief and Duterte–who both graduated from the San Beda College of Law–have been trading barbs lately on the issue of human rights.
De Lima, who had headed the Commission on Human Rights before she took the Justice portfolio, has been criticizing Duterte for his alleged links to the so-called Davao Death Squad, which had been blamed for extra-judicial killings in Davao City.
“It cannot be at the expense of my principles,” de Lima said when asked whether she would be running alongside Duterte, who is yet to announce whether he is joining the race for President in the 2016 elections.
“I stand by my principles always. I cannot do it as a matter of principle,” she added.
After being told of de Lima’s statement, Duterte went ballistic but remained very composed.
Earlier, he said he does not want to be in disagreement with de Lima because she is a woman.
The mayor, however, branded her principles as “rotten” and “hypocritical.”
“Ah, she has principles? Galing [Great]. However rotten [they are, they will do], although [they are]hypocritical one[s],” Duterte said.
If the Liberal Party would include de Lima in its senatorial ticket, according to him, he will campaign against the party.
“Kung saan siya , sa kabila ako [Wherever she goes, I’ll back the other side],” Duterte said. “Kung kay Mar siya ngayon, sorry na lang , sabihan ko si Mar [If she is running with Mar, I’ll tell Mar ‘I am sorry],’” Duterte said.
“I may not only be campaigning on the other side, I might even decide to run,” he said. “If she is on the ticket of the Liberals, then goodbye. Bye, Mar. Kayo na ang magsama [You go together], with her rotten principles.”
Mar is Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, presumptive standard-bearer of the administration in next year’s elections.
In a televised interview on Wednesday, de Lima said she is about 80 percent sure to run for senator. Her final decision, however, will still depend on results of surveys that currently places her between 7th and 14th place.
“I am observing the developments on the political front. There might still be a lot of developments,” she added.
Reacting to Duterte’s statements, De Lima also on Thursday chided the mayor for allegedly being “fixated” on her.
“If you are going to ask me about Duterte, I will not answer. Why is he so fixated on me?” de Lima told reporters. ” I hope he stops. Hindi na ako natutuwa [I’m no longer amused].”