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Leila’s dilemma: Drug links bared

Senator fires back: Character assassination

“Here is a senator complaining [about the spate of drug-related killings],” Duterte told policemen at Camp Crame in Quezon City, without naming De Lima. “One day I will tell you that her driver who was her lover was the one collecting money for her during the campaign.”

“She’s politicking and posturing when… [she herself has] a very sordid personal and official life,” he added. 

In a press briefing at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport later in the afternoon, Duterte named the “crusading lady of human rights” that he referred to in his speech as De Lima, with whom he has had a long-running feud.

“She thinks she is the conscience of the country. You want to know the name? De Lima,” Duterte said.

Philippine National Police Director-General Rolando dela Rosa said he will order a probe on De Lima’s driver.

“I will conduct my investigation,” dela Rosa said.

De Lima accused Duterte of character assassination.

ALLEGATIONS DENOUNCED. Senator Leila de Lima, Secretary of Justice in the Aquino administration, denounces in her privilege speech Tuesday on the floor of the Senate allegations of coddling and protecting detained high profile drug lords at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City in the past six years. Ey Acasio

“My first reaction is I don’t want to dignify that. It’s so foul. It’s character assassination,” said De Lima who was on the verge of tears.

“We are both professional. We are both public servants. He should not have resorted to such foul means. That’s very foul,” said De Lima.

She said Duterte should have double checked the source of his information. 

She also vowed that Duterte’s attack would not stop her from pursuing the Senate investigation on the spate of killings of drug suspects under his watch.

During his speech, Duterte accused De Lima of commuting adultery with her “driver and lover,” claiming that she used illegal drug money from the New Bilibid Prison to bankroll her successful 2016 senatorial bid.

“Here is an immoral woman, flaunting. Well of course, in so far as the wife of the driver was concerned, it’s adultery,” Duterte said. 

“Here is a woman who funded the house of her lover and yet we do not see any complaint about it. That money came readily from her,” he added. 

Administration allies have accused De Lima of being in cahoots with the drug lords in the national penitentiary.

Duterte also brought up De Lima’s attempts to pin him to the Davao Death Squads when she was still commissioner on human rights.

“Until now she keeps on yapping,” Duterte said.

In his press briefing at Naia, Duterte said that he is not joking about his revelations against De Lima. 

“It is not the business of a President to lie to the public,” he said.

He also reiterated that the ongoing war against drugs will continue whether they like it, or not. 

“We will overcome the resistance, but if the resistance is violent, shoot. Can I be more clear than that?” Duterte said.

“Be careful with me because if I say I will do it, I will do it, even if have to kill you or be killed in the process,” he added, referring to the senators who are set to investigate the spate of drug-related killings.

Duterte was at the airport to condole with the widow of Petty Officer 3 Darwin Espallardo whose wife Cleofe and son Dwyndyll John Espallardo flew from Legazpi City to fetch his cadaver.

Duterte told newsman during an impromptu interview that the family of Espallardo will receive a burial assistance of P250,000 cash and other benefits while the son will get a full scholarship grant until he finishes his college degree.

Also on Wednesday, one of the so-called narco-judges named by Duterte denied any involvement in the illegal drug trade.

Judge Exequil Dagala of the Dapa-Socorro, Surigao del Norte Municipal Circuit Trial Court said he has served the judiciary in the last 10 years with integrity.

He said his income was barely enough to sustain the needs of his family as he submitted himself to lifestyle check by the Supreme Court, which already initiated an administrative investigation against him and the three other active judges.

Dagala admitted owning a “small island” off Del Carmen town in Siargao, but said that he bought the property years ago for only about P40,000.

The island, known in the town as “Isla Verde,” was inspected by local police earlier this week even without court warrant on suspicion that it was housing a drug laboratory. With Eric B. Apolonio

Topics: Senator Leila de Lima , Senator de Lima's driver , Drug money , President Rodrigo Duterte , PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa
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