PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte lashed out anew at Sen. Leila de Lima for portraying herself as a “prisoner of conscience,” as the lawmaker continues to languish in detention over illegal drug charges.
In an interview aired on state-run People’s Television on Friday night, Duterte insisted that de Lima allowed illegal drugs to proliferate inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) when she headed the Department of Justice from 2010 to 2015.
“Itong kaso ni de Lima totoo talaga ‘to (The case of de Lima is real),” the President said. “And the Americans know that already,” he said, without elaborating.
Duterte reiterated that the senator’s previous “adulterous” affair with her former driver, Ronnie Dayan, paved the way for her involvement in illegal drugs inside the state penitentiary.
Dayan was the alleged bagman of de Lima who was collecting drug money from the illicit transactions inside the NBP. The money was purportedly used to finance de Lima’s senatorial campaign in 2016.
“Her case started because of her [former]driver and lover. Her driver [had]a connection [and]developed ties inside and started to make money eventually swallowed by de Lima,” the President said.
“‘Di ka na nahiya na magpalabas (Aren’t you ashamed calling yourself a) ‘prisoner of conscience?’ Alam mo, sa totoo lang, prisoner ka sa l***g mo (The truth is, you are a prisoner of your lust. Diyan nag-umpisa lahat ‘yan e (That’s where it all started), your adulterous relation. Do not blame anybody,” he added.
Duterte issued the statement after the Supreme Court on Tuesday voted 9-6 to junk de Lima’s petition to dismiss the drug-related cases filed against her.
De Lima said she would appeal the high court’s decision, lamenting that the decision “tells us the extent to which Dutertism has distorted reason, suppressed the truth and rejected the primacy of conscience.”
She has rejected allegations against her, claiming she had been locked up to stop her from criticizing the administration’s war on drugs that has seen thousands of suspected criminals killed.
Malacañang has denied that the opposition senator was being subjected to political persecution.
In October 2016, Duterte alleged that de Lima was the “manager” of the illegal drug trade in the national penitentiary.
Duterte’s so-called narco-list identified de Lima as the top government official allegedly involved in drug transactions inside the NBP.
De Lima has been detained at the Philippine National Police custodial center in Quezon City since February.