Leila de Lima and the art of shame defense

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First Read
Whenever a public figure comes out publicly to answer a scandalous accusation or exposé against them, I instinctively measure their performance against the big-time examples of denial and defense, which are safely memorialized in the annals of history.

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I think of these now as I ponder the nightmare that Senator Leila De Lima must be living through, and her desperate quest for an availing strategy or tactic to surmount the devastating attack fired against her by President Duterte on Wednesday.

She must simultaneously fend off (1) a charge that she is an adulterer, and kept a lover who was both an employee of the Department of Justice and an agent of the illegal drugs trade; and (2) that she received drug lord payoffs to fund her campaign for the Senate in the May elections.

You cannot wipe away the shame and stain by a simple denial; you need a well- crafted strategy of putting your response into words and into an action plan. Hence, I say it’s instructive to study how the big scalawags in history wiggled out of their predicaments.

1. Bill Clinton: I did not have sex with that woman.

First on my ‘wall of shame’ defenses is

Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sex with that woman.”

On August 17, 1998, in a television address to the nation from the White House, President Clinton acknowledged that he had an inappropriate relationship with onetime intern Monica S. Lewinsky and deceived the American people about it, but he defiantly challenged independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr to stop “prying into private lives.”

Clinton dropped the defense he used seven months earlier, of saying he did not have sex with “that woman” and of making a distinction between getting head and having intercourse.

“I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate,” he said: “    I know that my public comments and my silence about this matter gave a false impression,” he added, although he did not say directly that he had sex with Lewinsky. “I misled people, including even my wife. I deeply regret that.”

The Washington Post reported: “The president’s tone during his five-minute statement was flavored with as much anger as remorse as he lashed out at [special prosecutor]Kenneth Starr and declared: “I intend to reclaim my family life for my family,” he said. “It’s nobody’s business but ours. Even presidents have private lives. It is time to stop the pursuit of personal destruction and the prying into private lives and get on with our national life.”

2. Richard Nixon: “I am not a crook”

My second specimen of scandal defense is Richard Nixon’s five-word classic: “I am not a crook.”

On November 17, 1973, at a press conference in Orlando, Florida, President Nixon addressed media stories of crooked dealings by the President.

He said: “I want to say this to the television audience. I made my mistakes. But in all of my years of public life, I have never profited – never profited from public service. I’ve earned every cent. And in all of my years of public life, I have never obstructed justice … because people have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.”

Nixon was elected to the US presidency in 1968, and reelected in 1972. But he was forced to resign his office in 1973 because of the Watergate scandal.

De Lima’s defense
How does Senator de Lima’s response to Duterte’s accusations measure against these classic cases of shame defense?

Alas, not well at all. Where Clinton and Nixon surmounted their ordeal, de Lima could sink deeper in the quicksand of scandal and embarrassment. Duterte may have more bombs to explode.

I listened to de Lima’s press conference statement diligently, but I looked in vain for a coherent strategy that could get her off the hook.

Surprisingly, Leila desisted from denying the truth of any of Duterte’s allegations.

She opted, instead, for an underdog strategy of:
1. Harping on the mismatch between the awesome powers of the President, and her limited powers as a senator.

2. Alleging the abuse and misuse of executive power by President Duterte;

3. Playing on public sympathy because she is a woman whose honor has been trampled on; and

4. Declaring that the President’s attacks were brought on by her decision to lead the Senate inquiry next week into the administration’s war on drugs, and the extrajudicial killings.

In the absence of her denial of an adulterous affair, most Filipinos have concluded that she is, indeed, having an affair with her driver and subordinate, and that she gave him two houses in Pangasinan.

The affair is said to be an open secret at the justice department and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). There’s even an alleged sex video that has been making the rounds on social media; and many dread the prospect of watching it. Yet, she does not categorically deny the allegations.

A problem of credibility
De Lima’s big problem is her lack of credibility, in comparison with President Duterte’s high trust and approval rating.

People remember her as President BS Aquino’s hatchet girl for the persecution of his political enemies, like former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former chief justice Renato Corona. They remember how she even defied a Supreme Court order allowing Arroyo to travel abroad.

For six years, De Lima was head of two critical pillars of our criminal justice system – the pro section arm and the correctional arm. Under her, the country’s prisons system became a tool for the drug trade. And prosecutions focused mainly on jailing and harassing political opponents.

Filipinos are great believers in karma or gaba – retribution for the bad things that people do in life. Many believe that de Lima is now reaping the karmic destiny that she has sown.

Liberal Party is no help
If a poll were taken today on where Filipinos side in this face-off between de Lima and Duterte, it is highly likely that more than 80 percent will side with the President. Meanwhile, the senator would be lucky to get 10 percent of public support.

Even de Lima’s colleagues in the Liberal Party are not convinced she’s free of the blame.

The day after the Duterte blast, the party released a supposedly official statement calling on Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd to stand by de Lima for Senate independence.

It was hardly a ringing endorsement for the lady senator. No Liberal senator or Liberal leader was mentioned in the release.

Miraculously, the press release was carried all over the media, despite the lack of attribution.

The Liberal Party, scared to become the political opposition, is not only missing from our politics today; it is even missing from its own press releases.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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33 Comments

  1. Drug syndicates operated freely during de lima’s time as head of Department of Justice(DOJ) in the phils. With their bases in National Bilibid Prison(NBP) where shabo are cooked and where drug lords, lord it over the entire NBPpersonnel under de lima’s watch who insist she is completely clean and never profited from drug trades.Well, as head of DOJ, de lima is guilty of all the the criminality occurring within the DOJ base on COMMAND RESPONSIBILITY.

    • She’s niece of exiled founder of CPP a pathetic liar uncle so does a whore niece who’s intoxicated with her hidden fortune as dtug queen madam.

  2. Ely Cresencio on

    De Lima’s sex life should be the least of this new Administration’s concern. We have graver problems. Traffic, for example.

  3. De Lima’s responses are all diversionary, typical of a local pinoy politician during the election campaign when rivals throw everything including the favorite “kitchen sink” or “toilet bowl”. The idea is simply dismissing allegations as political propaganda, or as retaliation for raising the “extrajudicial killings” issues. There’s no need to deny the adulterous affair with her lover, only the fervent hope that the issue will soon die down and fast, believing earnestly in the cliche that today’s headlines become tomorrow’s fish wraps. Her misfortune is that Duterte seems like a master of this art himself. Thus this is a match up between Sex and Violence of which a pinoy movie can’t do without. But between the two issues, only time will tell which one is a juicier treat to the gullible public.

  4. Don’t cry Leila, you power play vs. Duterte
    By Mortz C. Ortigoza

    In my recent radio program, some listeners and viewers at social media commented that President Rodrigo Duterte scathing speech recently at a police anniversary was misogynistic.
    Misogynist, to the trike drivers and funeral attendants who read this column, means a person who hates, dislikes, mistrusts, or mistreats women.
    For me the vitriol of the president against Senator Leila de Lima was above board.
    For instance, how could his driver-body guard Ronnie Palisoc Dayan, explained the tens of millions of pesos White and Orange mansions he built at his residence at Barangay Galarin in Urbiztondo, Pangasinan, where some sources said used by de Lima and Dayan, a married man, for tryst.
    Were those monies used by the mascular driver Dayan, as told by my fellow anchorwoman Audrey, taken from the jailed drug lords who cooked illegal drugs shabu at the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa especially when De Lima was then the Justice Secretary of the country?
    A justice secretary in the Philippines not only supervises the National Bureau of Investigation but all jails under the Bureau of Jail, Management & Penology.
    Geez man, very powerful position!
    De Lima and her supporters and sympathizers should not cry foul to the “bully” actuation of the president.
    In case the sex video of de Lima and a guy, where the alleged fat lady Senator acted like a jockey riding a horse at the tracks at the Saddle & Clubs Leisure Park in Santa Ana Park, proves to be authentic, the accusation of the president that the paramour was the bagman of De Lima, the senator should not only be sued but condemned for her hypocrisy.
    In case the Senate Justice Committee she chaired succeeds in investigating and exposing police officials lead by Philippine National Police’s Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa about the spate of killings of narcotic personalities, she still should be ashamed of herself because what she does in finding fault with the Duterte Administration in abetting the killings are sheer hypocrisy.
    She cried foul about the vitriol from Duterte and the alleged demolition jobs against her by the president’s supporters at the traditional and social media, well it’s just part of the territory.
    “Nag pa power play po kasi kayo maam”.

    She is bent to expose the blood on the hands of Duterte where the investigation starts at the August Chamber on Monday, she reaps consequences of her crusade where Malacanang started exposing her alleged shenanigans.
    That’s brinkmanship, my Dear Procopio!
    The Tagalog has the saying: “Huwag ka nambabato ng ibang bahay kung bahay mo ay lata”, since a tin made house would have a hard sound if somebody retaliated by throwing a stone, too.

    TALKING ABOUT A DRIVER-BODY GUARD

    One day, a drug lord in the Philippines had to go China for an emergency meeting with the Chinese’s Mafia Triad. While he was overseas, he left his flirty wife who looks like sultry actress Sam Pinto with three driver-body guards. For him to know if the three stocky and mascular men all named Ronnie (psst call them Ronnie – 1, Ronnie – 2, and Ronnie-3), had sex with the spouse he stuck a razor in his wife’s vagina.
    Upon his return to his hide out somewhere in Northern Luzon, he instructed Ronnie-1 to pull down his jeans. Surprisingly, Ronnie-1’s penis fell-off. The same thing happened to Ronnie-2.
    When it was Ronnie-3’s turn, the drug lord was amazed because the third body guard’s penis did not fall off.

    When asked how resisted the temptation to his hot indecent and libidous mestiza wife, there was no answer because Ronnie-3 could not talked anymore because his tonque was slashed and bloody.

  5. Very good article. I sympathize with de lima, however I’m not happy with her criticism to the Duterte government. She should know better what are more important matters to take to Senate’s attention. Just my opinion.

  6. They shamed, bullied and sh*t on the Philippine government and made fool of the Filipinos for the longest effin time. Now a more shameless and hardcore person was voted to power to do what was supposedly done a long time ago. So goodluck to everyone on the government, Filipinos sent your karma and his name is DUTERTE.

  7. Very well said.
    Drug syndicates operated freely during her time as head of justice in the Phils. With their bases in the National Bilibid Prison. What a shame. What do we expect now from her as a senator with that kind of background? In the US or Japan, politicians like her resign. In the phils, they conduct press releases to gain public sympathy.

  8. Very well said. Drug syndicates operated freely during her time as head of justice in the phils. With their bases in National Bilibid Prison. What a shame!
    What do we expect from her as a senator with that track record. Nothing. In the US or Japan, politicians like her resign. Here they conduct press releases to gain public sympathy.

  9. Investigation regarding possible links of de Lima in drugs should start and finish it. This should include her lover driver.

  10. Rowell Del Rosario on

    She’s immoral using her position for her sex life. Her driver used her,as fixer for appointing not qualified person for important position in government under her power.

  11. D5 should just shut up and move on with her own self being investigated! If her hands are clean and no skeletons in her closet, then she could sleep soundly, no matter how loud the barking is! Otherwise, bring on the nightmares that will hound her the rest of her life! Alas, her once being at the helm of the justice department cannot even bring her the justice that she deserves! Tsk, tsk, tsk…. Another denial queen in the making!

  12. OTSO-OTSO SA PINAS ANG DENIAL KAHIT TOTOO ANG GINAWA MONG KASALANAN.

    Parang totoo yong sinabi niya na “Shot me in front of you Mr. President ” if you have true evidences that I am connected or coddling drugs lords inside Bilibid or collecting an amount of money from it.

    The question here is why Senator D-5 don’t have any denial words about his illegal relationship (performed adultery) with his former driver? And their is videos or pictures go viral?

    That means, that was true. So if this is true, can be this a ground to impeach her? O anu ang kaso na isasampa sa kanya being a public officer?

  13. At the very least if its true she (De Lima) had sexual relation with her driver who at that time is a government employee she is guilty of Sexual harassment, for control is the main element of sexual harassment. All this Senate investigation by her is a total waste of time and money of the government. I do not see any aid in legislation being accomplish with the current proceeding except Sen. De Lima trying to deflect the attention of the Filipino people that the real problems on drug got worse during her time as DOJ.

  14. Between the two who is MORE or MOST immoral? President Duterte (annulled marriage w/ lst wife, having a concubinage affair with a common-law wife & certified 2 girl friends who are promo dizers & residents of Davao City) or Senator de Lima (annulled marriage w/ husband but w/ adulterous affair w/ his driver-lover).

  15. He who had not sinned cast the first stone. I’m not pro De Lima but look who’s talking. A man who is not called an adulterer because he is a man but commits concubinage in his life. He has said he has 3 girlfriends. Look at you, every adult Filipinos who has the money or looks commit sexual sin in his life. Your are extremely idiots and lier’s if your have not committed any infraction against your wife in your lifetime. Let;s get real. Every person has a right to privacy. It’s guaranteed under the constitution. Do you mean to say that all female government employees who had begotten a child out of wedlock is immoral?

    • In all honesty, your comment shows no point. Just as you said he who had not sinned cast the first stone. But, de lima paints her self as lady who is holy and all. The man you are talking about does not deny his misgivings but here is someone who is bent on being holy yet she herself is has never proven that the allegations were wrong. She even said that bits may be true, now with this logic, there are only tgree points she is accused with, having a relationship with her driver who is married, Driver is getting drug money and she received drug money for her senate campaign. Now if we think about it, if one of these situation were true, then she is still accountable by law. Driver getting drug money = this post a problem with her credibility if she knew her driver was receiving drug money. She at that point has the power to deal with this but she did not. Second reason is her relationship with her driver, = this is by law adultery as she is in fact married as well as her driver. This is adultery, but the point your saying in defending her is why shame her in public were the accuser himself is no less holy. The difference however, is sincerity, as a public official, she should be know that her life will be scrutinized, if this issue was the “bit of truth”she is telling us then, her family must know. The president however, showed all his colors and is not hiding what happened. Despite it, the man shows he respects both his ex wife and common law wife, And the president, in the eyes of the law is single. As his marriage was nullified. The third and last point we consider is that she received drug money as part of her campaign, = This, do we need to argue about this?… So if all of these are untrue, then logically, de lima is lying when she said there are “bits of truth” as none of the issue she is facing is true. That’s illogical. If one out of the 3 is then true, then…I don’t know why we need to protect someone who is disobeying the law.

    • Please…It’s not all about extra marital affairs but about her relation to drug proliferation in this country. Her extra marital affairs is just but spices.

    • adultery is not the only issue lad, it’s her driver who is also identified as a bagman collecting money form drug lords. the payolas were used to finance her election campaign.

      Duterte didn’t say that he was clean in the first place, he is very open about his life. Annulled from his first wife, have had several girlfriends because he was just a man, and currently living with his partner.

      Remember during the election, LP people and attack dog delima said that Duterte is a monster, a killer, and immoral, they even launced an ad against duterte. You never heard anything from the guy, so the to conclude, De Lima cast the first stone.

    • Where is Du30’s wife’s complaint? Your right to privacy ends when you become a public servant when your life becomes an open book. Stay as a civilian and the constitution will protect your privacy. A president without a wife can have 3 girlfriends but girlfriends are not wives.

    • The whole point of this expose is the involvement of delima to the drug trade. The immorality issue is just an add-on. I dont understand why people are so concerned with the immorality issue and feminism when in fact the future and lives of filpinos is at stake here. Sorry but i think you are a Delima supporter contrary to what u say that ur not.

  16. The problem is in the mind of De Lima. Up to now, she still thinks that all these “extra judicial killings” are the works of the DDS. In her mind, this group is still around and activated by Tatang after he won the election. She still pursue her investigation that started while she was in DOJ because De Lima thinks that there is really a connection and a strong one between DDS and DU30.

    De Lima’s motive here is simple but subtle: Turn the PNP against it’s President or create a doubt by saying, “DU30 activated his DDS because he knows the police is “not sufficient” in eliminating the drug problem. By doing this, she can “poison” the mind of the PNP by doubting their capability by non other than their Commander himself.

    She can’t “drop it and move on”. De Lima is a kind of person that if she wants it, she will get it. Not this time! This is the greatest hypocrisy. The “Conscience of the Nation Wannabe” was exposed! Immoral (snippet of truth) and worst corrupt (most probably).

  17. ernie del rosario on

    A conspiracy for the books ! A high government official perched on his/her thrown, protected by a phalanx of bodyguards and a full-time and loyal partner-driver and who travels with escort cars and a low-plate-number official vehicle is formidably “shielded” against being suspected of any wrongdoing. Who would dare accost him/her on the road or anywhere ? But all these protections if used for a dubious purpose is one of the most effective ploy to smoothly ply the wrongdoing for many years without being noticed.

  18. I think the call by Senator lie De Lima for a congressional hearing with regards to extra judicial killings against the present
    dispensation has some grave motive. The entire set up is to weaken the resolve of President Duterte campaign against drug and shake the latter’s people support… The end result is the same old political game…you can see the old yellow dog barking around who inflicted severe corruption, poverty, and criminality in our country ever since they were in power.
    But President Duterte is smart. He knows that he is just cleaning the yellow dirt without blaming anybody. And for every death, the people will be reminded of how the yellow dogs governed.

  19. Kudos for you, Yen! You couldn’t have had articulated this article better!
    More than the contents are the logic, ethics, parallels, metaphors, analyses, synthesis. May your tribe increase (by teaching technical writing in the university or to other columnists outside MT).
    He, he, joke only. A serious joke. Then RDT and the others can join you in mentoring.
    The President in this corner and Delilah in that corner are similar and dissimilar.
    They both talk a lot. Similar they are. But Delilah creates noise while PRRD harps a melody. Dissimilar they can be. We, readers, as well as you, writers, deserve some good laugh in between the roughs and toughs of daily living. Most especially now that Aldub is quite vanishing away……

  20. Let this be clear, ADULTERY is not only immoral but a crime. A lady took advantage of her driver for sex and money. In America, a crime like De Lima is punishable by Termination. A person in authority must not have sexual jokes or touch a co worker. I know De Lima is divorced or annulled or she must be intelligent enough not to have sex with an employee. She must just pay for a male prostitute, so no adultery.

    • she should be investigated by the ethics committee of the senate but then the senate president is very SILENT and looks like protecting de5. this was alleged before by sandra cam in her narrative when she went out to block the confirmation of de5 as doj secretary then

  21. Prez Clint, he was da best, Master of denial, Guru of public sympathy, my wife was in tears during his testimony and questioning at the hearings, took time of work just to watch…… unbelievable, what showmanship… oh well…