Duterte vs De Lima



I have stood against the slut-shaming of Senator Leila De Lima, against bringing in her personal life, judging her for her romantic relationship(s), making jokes out of it, in relation to the war on drugs and her alleged complicity in the drug business.

I do think President Duterte need not stoop so low to the point that we put her down for her being a woman – because that’s what slut-shaming is. If there is enough information to prove her guilt, then there is enough to talk about without involving her personal romantic relations, plain and simple. As it is, including those kinds of personal attacks just makes it seem like there isn’t enough to pin her down in relation to this case.

Yet listening to the proceedings in Congress, and especially to Police Director Benjamin Magalong of the CIDG speaking about his professional engagement with then Secretary of Justice De Lima, tells me there is in fact enough. If anything, there is enough of a story here to put Senator De Lima on the defensive, if not on an all-out war against President Duterte.

Which is why I don’t understand how people can say this is not about De Lima VS Duterte. Of course it is. And this was started by De Lima herself.

The Justice secretary
De Lima started the all-out war against then Mayor Duterte of Davao a year before the May 2016 elections when she called out the mayor’s admission of being the Davao Death Squad. That admission is on YouTube. It is well-documented, and as then Justice Secretary, De Lima asserted her moral high ground as she needed to, and as expected. In May 2015, she was on a rampage.

From Interaksyon.com: “I find those statements annoying and disturbing. Here we have a public figure boldly making those kinds of statements. I really find Mayor Duterte’s approach reprehensible.”

From GMANetwork.com: “Ano bang klaseng mga statements iyan? A public servant, one who is very popular right now like Mayor Duterte and idolized by many, and yet, he makes those statements! Iyong iba sa atin, natutuwa pa, lalong ina-idolize si Mayor Duterte. But, is that right? Hindi po tama iyon.”

This last bit was telling: the idolatry was something people feared about Mayor Duterte running for president – I think we all knew it could win him the presidency. To have the Justice secretary scolding the public about who they were idolizing may have been the wrong call, seeing as it became obvious that this was not going to go through “due process” but was really about making sure that the mayor’s presidential bid would be ruined before it even started.

Of course De Lima can say there was due process, as there was in fact an NBI investigation into the DDS at that time.

“I really don’t know <if Duterte will end up being charged>. I’m not saying this because there is an election… because he’s a possible presidentiable. I’m just being consistent, as a former Human Rights Commissioner. This is simply unacceptable.” (GMANetwork.com, May 2015)

That uncertainty about the DDS investigation, coupled with her articulations against Duterte, just made it seem like she was not merely speaking as justice secretary but also as a member of the Liberal Party – afraid of Duterte running for president. She was not speaking objectively and clearly about the NBI investigation, and instead would re-focus her attention on the public that was pushing the mayor to run for president.

De Lima herself was hitting on the personal.

The mayor
And Mayor Duterte knew it. In fact, he was also working with the bigger picture of the 2016 elections in mind, the role De Lima would play in it, and what this word war would lead to.

In May 2015, the Mayor said: “‘Yang si De Lima nagpapaek-ek lang ‘yan, e gustong tumakbo ‘yan ng senador, then I said you file a case against me. You started it when you were the human rights chairman. You file the case, make yourself as the complainant and I will place you in the witness stand as I will also answer everything, but I want you there to ask you about your professional and personal dealings.” (Philstar.com)

That same month, the-mayor-who-would-be-president also put into question the credibility of the-Justice-secretary-who-would-be-senator.

“You accuse me of extrajudicial killing, which is criminal, but look at your own backyard, especially Muntinlupa. By culpable neglect, many were able to sneak in, you did not do anything. You raided only now, you built Hilton Hotel right in Muntinlupa, you allowed it, look at your own backyard. A more serious crime is committed every day. Prisoners going in and out of prison, doing kidnapping and hold-ups outside. Women, drugs, being allowed inside, and you have the gall to accuse me of extrajudicial killings of criminals?

“You fatten them. Your penal colony guard selling shabu with prisoners outside, what’s happening to the country? I’m the only local official talking against drugs and you have the gall to say I’m killing the criminals, while you fatten them in and out of prison. What are you doing to the criminals in this country? Answer me.” (Inquirer.net, 28 May 2015)

This was long before the decision was made for Mayor Duterte to run for president. That it resonates in the present is telling, isn’t it?

It is said that this is not about De Lima versus Duterte, but about justice.

But justice – across the board – will only be had if we find out the truth, across all these witnesses given the Senate inquiry and the Congress investigation.

Certainly the current extrajudicial killings must be discussed, and the perpetrators brought to justice, whoever they are. President Duterte must push for this as much as he has pushed this drug war. It is a by-product of this war, and it is this government’s responsibility to look into these killings.

But in that light, it makes no sense that Senator De Lima brought Matobato into the picture at this point in time, speaking as he does solely and only about the DDS in Davao, and not at all telling us anything about the current landscape of killings. That disconnect is part of the senator’s undoing, and it is all her fault.

That Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II is doing his job and actually working on proving President Duterte’s assertions in May 2015 about then Justice Secretary De Lima, was the logical next step in this she-said-he-said episode that started a year before the May 2016 elections.

That this was started by De Lima herself, that the tenor of the discussion was dictated by her, and that now she feels that she is being singled out and victimized – well, that’s how the ball has rolled.

The fact is her tone was just as arrogant, her arguments just as flawed, and she was also hitting below the belt against Mayor Duterte, throughout much of the campaign. She spoke with confidence against this man, questioned his credibility, ruined him for all that he said and all that he had purportedly done. She was a woman on a roll.

She was a woman confident that her president, Mar Roxas, would win.

In May 2015, Mayor Duterte had said of De Lima’s criticism against him: “It’s because of her political ambition. Well, run and the Filipino people will get to know you more as the barking dog of the Aquino administration.” (ManilaTimes.net)

Now that bark has lost all its bite.


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. nobel peace prize 2017…nominee ,pres rodrigo roa duterte itaga yan sa bato,peace in progress in mindanao, luzon and the visayas,cpp/ndf disbanded, mnlf,milf dis arm, abu sayaf exterminated, drug lords neutralized, god willing makamit sana natin ito,

  2. There s nothing more disgusting than slut shaming. Even if the woman suspected is proven innocent, she will forever be degraded, eternally soiled. Not so with men. If your intent was to not slut shame delima, you failed miserably. Giving credo to this sex fueled and titillating stories about her without empirical evidence but for the admission by some sordid characters make me question your objectivity.

  3. You are against slut shaming? This is more than just that. You need to know that foreign gov’t use sex scandals regularly to turn traitors and corrupt politicians.

    That is why Bill Clinton was investigated and almost impeached because of his sex-scandal, the British Parliament Profumo sex scandal resulted in investigations and resignations, now all of a sudden the Philippines is the most sexually liberal nation in the world just to accommodate one immoral senator.

    Gov’t sex scandals MUST be investigated most especially in the case of De Lima, because of the obvious links that may be proven with her partners in crime. If those opposed are so prudish all congress has to do to allow the video is blur the genitalia, it is only the faces that we need to see clearly. Getting evidence of a crime is what we need to focus on, as to slut shaming that is well deserved too.

  4. Where the judicial system is rotten and dysfunctional, there could only be silent public support or tolerance for extrajudicial justice. When the judicial system has lost its power and moral authority to render justice to man’s affairs, the people themselves would take over that function.

  5. In order for a Prosecutor to be able to prosecute an alleged criminal , he/she should gather literally all evidences that can be accumulated to make the case air-tight … in Tagalog “para walang kalusot-lusot !!!”

    The problem with the very intelligent Lady Senator is that ; she keep on DENYING the allegations against her without presenting any evidence to prove her innocence . According to the Lawyers(where she is one),

    Just recently , the Lady Senator delivered a speech in front of the Media … giving a similar defense hysterically , to the verge of breaking down .

    In an argument , the one who LOSES his/her COOL would be defeated … the one who KEEPS his/her COOL would be assumed that THE TRUTH is coming out forcefully from his/her brain , the TRUTH that cannot be prevented from emerging by the FALSE HAIR(wig)ON TOP of his/her HEAD.
    he he he he he he he he !

  6. its delima vs her shadow. her past is finally catching up with her. it is the time of reckoning, ika nga.

  7. I read your article with great interest and appreciation. It is balanced and no one should be saying it is a biased information. When it comes down to reality, De Lima and Duterte are exchanging insults everyday, while poor Filipino people who may or may have not involved themselves in drugs are dying by droves everyday. They are the ones who need more attention at this point in time.

  8. For the first time since the controversy/ies between President Duterte and Senator de Lima–that is, I am reading a clear, fair and factual account. ‘Gave me a complete understanding I should say and I am glad I opened and read through your article and now .I am saving it on my desktop so I can go through it over again.

  9. The 16+ million Filipinos who voted Digong into the presidency chose him over the other candidates because of what he is (i.e., rural, provincial, crude, bad-mouthed, undiplomatic and not politically correct) and of what he promised us (i.e., to rid the country of drugs, criminality and corruption, to make the streets bloody if necessary, and to shift to a federal form of government). We do not wish him or his programs to change AT ALL.

    So those of you who are shocked and turned off by what he is doing or saying, JUST SHUT UP – YOU LOST. All your whining, wailing and grumbling will not change our minds. You are in the minority; we are the 91%. Do not proselytize.

  10. Now everybody knows how vulnerable the Pilipino voters are. The voters cannot be trusted. Unfortunately it comprises the upper level to the lowest level of our society. The liberal party utterly destroyed the reputation of Senator Grace Poe who was leading the survey 6 months before election and Binay leading one year before election. There is really no other choice but Duterte. Duterte knows that the Pilipinos is fed up with weakling Pnoy Aquino, so Mar is out. That s the story in a nutshell.

  11. Artemio the once-great on

    I can see De Lima calling you a paid hack of Duterte for this wonderful piece of reporting. Hard-hitting, honest, factual, objective. Congratulations. You have gained a fan.

  12. Actually this woman senators antics is damaging your country image in the eyes of the world. She keep on calling UN to come to save herself.

    Basing on the news I was reading, your country can already be classified as a narco state if you have generals, secretary of DOJ, cabinets, congressman, judges, government officers, police, and so on involved or protector of drug trade.

    I find it impossible to believe that the Aquino administration has no knowledge of what is going on.

    You have a president willing to die to rid your country of drugs so that your future generation will have a better future. I don’t know of any currently sitting president that will die for their country. Should this president die or be deposed of before he finished his term, you will never have that kind of president again willing to give his life to save the country from drugs and corruption It is for his willingness to lay his life that I believe in your president.

    If that is the case, the Philippines will spiral down to become a narco state again and it may never get a second chance to get out of that.

    But the issues I have with your president is he should have forbidden civilians to commit extra judicial killings. The drugs dealer will use this to kill people to severe link back to him. He created his own weakness which this woman senator is exploiting, giving your country a bad image to the world.

    • Bloody hall!you sounded like an ex Filipino. I hope hindi pango ang ilong at mestiso or mestisa ka for even saying this. Even if you have changed your citizenship – and lived in another country for thousands of years – if you were born a Filipino – you will be one FOREVER. Come on! Anong joke ito? does it mean na kung nakapag asawa lang nang puti naging puti ka na?I have to laugh – when some people do this?

      Come on… be sensible of your own Filipino people. Hindi ka lang nakakanosebleed – nakakahiya ka!

    • Civilians doing the killings? Why vigilantes now, when the government and the police are doing what should have been done before: to protect the people. Civilian/Vigilante killings should have been done during the past administration when crimes and drug proliferated and the government has not done anything to protect the people! Who would kill the drug addict and the street drug pusher? Is it the government or those who want to eliminate them so that they won’t lead the police right to their door steps!! Kill them and make it appear as vigilante/ejk killing. Why should the police kill the drug addicts/street pushers when these are the people who lead lead them to their bigger quarry?

  13. Actually that woman senator of yours seems to be intent of giving your country a bad image in the world just to save herself. Some of your countrymen to be intent on turning your country into a nacro state.

    But as the players in your drugs trade is revealed on by one, in my opinion, Philippines had already become a narco state during the previous administration of Aquino. Even the administration of Arroyo had protected Paul Le Croux, a know drug lord.

    No current sitting president in any country I know of is willing to risk his life to save his country from downward spiral due to drugs trade. You guys got one. You will probably never get one again if this president got ousted or killed before he can finished his term. Therefore, it is to the best interest of your country that this guy stay in power and finished his term.

    The only issues I had with him is that he should have forbidden the civilian to do extra judicial killings. Then all killings can be blame on drug lords and so on but not to his administration. This is were he miscalculated and give an opening for his enemy to attacked and the drug dealers to kill people in pretense of helping rid the country of drug issues.

  14. Leodegardo Pruna on

    President Duterte was very vocal in saying that he cannot avoid mentioning the boyfriend because he was the link to Sen De Lima being involved in the illicit drug trade inside the NBP. I think that if ever truth is shameful, but when it is a fact, this should be treated as something to be respected. God bless the Philippines.

  15. thank you ms santiago. what a superb treatise.. i will FW the same to family and friends. your quotes from both protagonist (PRRD) and antagonist (de limaw, from her tx) are worth quotable quotes. if their word war finally land in the court after the preliminary screening at both chambers it will do our country good, because even the international community are dipping their fingers on our politics. theirs is a test of gall and wit, but most importantly, of truth. but sensing delimaw’s innate nature, through her words and actions, will not choose to see the truth, let alone admit it. if colangco et al were true to their words, delimaw has malinaw na nagdagdag ng thousands of drug addicts and surely, our Father in Heaven does not find this favorable. at this point, delimaw must now veer her angst from the adored President to the miserable addicts she has created. she also must feel sorry for their families especially their mothers who are hurting the most. thanks again, ms. santiago.

    • The international community is dipping their hand in your politic because somebody is submitting complain to them. It will be very easy for his opponents to submit complain to the human right and make them move.

  16. thank ms. santiago. this is the first good analysis that i read re du30 vs. d5 word war. other columnists have not presented as much. you have supported your write up with their respective public statements prior to the 2016 statements. again thank you and congrats.

  17. Slut-shaming is foul? If we can shame a wife-beater, why can’t we shame a slut, especially if that slut is also a virago of the lowest kind? What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and no less than De Lima knows that very well.

    • BRAVO…you have it all correctly! De Lima doesn’t qualify to the deserving women to be respected! She’s even worst than those criminals incarcerated for using them to create more Filipino criminals to elevate her into the senate..