• Palace questions de Lima’s inclusion in ‘Time 100’

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    MALACAÑANG on Friday welcomed the inclusion of President Rodrigo Duterte on Time magazine’s list of “The 100 Most Influential People” but questioned why Sen. Leila de Lima got into the roster.

    The list released on Thursday placed Duterte under the “Leaders” category, while de Lima was listed among “Icons.”

    “The fact remains that President Duterte is supported by majority of the Filipinos in his campaign against illegal hard drugs, crime and corruption,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

    Abella however blasted how the piece on de Lima, written by former United States ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, ignored the circumstances that led to her detention on drug trafficking charges.

    “In the case of Senator de Lima, Time conveniently failed to clarify that she was jailed not for her criticisms against the administration but because an independent court found probable cause in support of the criminal charges against her for alleged violation of the law on illegal drugs,” Abella said.

    De Lima denies the charges, which she says were trumped up to silence her. The senator is being accused of getting money from illegal drug traders at the New Bilibid Prison when she was Justice secretary under the previous Aquino administration.

    In her piece, Power noted that few had taken up de Lima’s cause.

    “It is a disturbing testament to the current solidarity among strongmen and the global surge in impunity that de Lima’s cause has not been more embraced,” she said.

    “And yet, even from prison, she continues to speak out against her President: ‘It’s not O.K. with me that we have a murderous psychopath occupying the highest post in the land,’” she added, quoting one of de Lima’s daily dispatches of handwritten notes from her cell.

    Cesar Gaviria, the former president of Colombia who battled drug cartels, wrote the article on Duterte. Gaviria compared his drug war, which killed notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar, with Duterte’s bloody anti-narcotics campaign.

    Earlier this year, Gaviria wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times warning against a violent approach to end the drug problem. Duterte responded by calling him an idiot.

    Gaviria reiterated his points in the Time article.

    “When I was President of Colombia, I was also seduced into taking a tough stance on drugs. But after spending billions, I discovered that the war was unwinnable and the human costs were devastating. The cure was infinitely worse than the disease,” Gaviria said.

    He advised Duterte to treat the drug problem as a public health issue instead.

    “There are solutions that work. Duterte could start by treating drugs as a health, human rights and development issue. He could prosecute the most violent criminals and provide treatment for users rather than condemn them to prison, or worse,” Gaviria said.

    “There will always be drugs in the Philippines, whether the President likes it or not. The tragedy is that many more people are likely going to die as he learns this lesson,” he added.

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    4 Comments

    1. Leland Sacro on

      I hope Mr. Abella starts choosing the “battles” he engages in. Focus on the work instead of reacting to all the negative press.

    2. Leopoldo Mayo on

      These, in brief, are the facts of Leila de Lima’s case, and it’s really a big blot in the record of contemporary Western journalism why some of its sectors could even consider the thought that she is an icon and a saintly, modern-day heroine: Leila de Lima has been criminally indicted and jailed for alleged money-making conspiracy with drug lords at the National Penitentiary to raise funds for her senatorial run in 2016. Her driver-security guard Ronnie Dayan, a married man whom she had housed on the sly as sexual partner for over seven years and later as drug-money bagman when both were on government payroll, confirmed this under oath in separate legislative and Senate hearings. Her connivance with drug lords inside the National Penitentiary has also been attested to under oath by several prison officials and some of the drug lords themselves. Crafty as ever even now that she is behind bars, Leila de Lima is now taking recourse to high-flying but faux politically-charged rhetoric against the Philippine President to deflect the fact that she has been indicted for very serious criminal offenses during her final years as the country’s Secretary of Justice. The fight that she screams to high heavens is definitely not for her self-claimed, self-serving advocacy for human rights, an advocacy that in reality is a sham, a convenient afterthought. It is dumbfounding and very unfortunate that the Western media and international human rights organizations have taken hook, line, and sinker Leila de Lima’s human-rights bait without even a basic evaluation of the charges and evidence against her as well as her tawdry record as a morally disreputable woman and as a totally unprincipled and relentless attack dog of the previous Philippine president against his political enemies.

    3. De Lima’s real crime is being a hand puppet for Aquino.

      De Lima while in charge of the Justice Dept only charged 3 opposition senators out of 20 on the Napoles list.

      Charged zero of the 100 house reps on the Napoles list.

      As if, those 3 senators that she charged stole the entire 10 billion.

      Turns out she is exactly the same as every other political appointee in the Philippines, Blind loyalty and subservient to their boss instead of doing the job they are appointed to.

      Welcome to the Philippines.

    4. DeLima was influential. If not for her influence, how would the drug problem turn that big and widespread?