PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday vowed to jail his most vocal political opponent, embattled Senator Leila de Lima, whom he accused of using drug money to fund her successful senatorial campaign.
Responding to De Lima’s criticism that his administration was screening what UN investigators could see, Duterte shot back, saying he had the goods to put her in jail.
“De Lima, she screwed her driver and screwed the nation.... She will be in jail, I assure you because of the testimonial and circumstantial evidence. She will be in jail because everyone’s now linking her and saying that they contributed money,” Duterte said in his speech.
“On a national scale, who brought in narco-politics? It is here already. You elected a senator who was into narco-politics, who was being financed by the convicts inside the prison.... What do you call that?”
De Lima shot back, asking Duterte if he had a crush on her.
“I cannot resist asking the President: what do you see in me that you find so sexual? Why is your mind fixated on my sexual aspect? You are so obsessed with me. Why?” De Lima said.
She described the President as the lowest and vilest man in the country for his rudeness, and said she pitied him for what he has been doing to destroy her.
At a separate press briefing, Duterte said De Lima faced criminal charges for allegedly condoning the illegal drug trade inside the national penitentiary.
“It’s drugs, actually. That would be non-bailable. Next time that she’s in prison, she will have how many lovers that she wants. That b****. She’s... telling lies. She wanted to gain an upper hand during the elections,” the President said.
Duterte, who asked De Lima last week to “hang herself” for “screwing the nation,” earlier said that Justice officials are now starting to probe into the accountability of other officials under the Aquino administration who allegedly benefited from the illegal drug trade.
A prosecutor before entering politics, the President said that if he had the opportunity to grill De Lima, he would ask her what he was doing for four hours inside the air conditioned hut of convict and drug lord Jaybee Sebastian. He would also ask her why she had an asset such as Sebastian. Did she not trust the NBI or the military?
Duterte said he was sure De Lima was going to jail.
“I am sure of my evidence. You wanted to be well known, [as] the only lady who has balls, but she kept on playing [with] other’s balls,” Duterte said.
In a Senate probe led by De Lima herself before she was stripped of her chairmanship, a self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato tagged Duterte as being behind the killing of more than 1,000 suspects by the Davao Death Squad.
The President, however, questioned Matobato, and said De Lima, a former Justice secretary, investigated him but never filed any charges against him.
In the House, lawmakers said they would compel De Lima’s former driver and bodyguard, Ronnie Dayan, to attend congressional hearings on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison.
“We arrived at a decision to issue subpoena against him,” Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali said, as his panel resumes hearing on Oct. 5.
Dayan went into hiding after he was tagged as De Lima’s bagman in the NBP.
Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu expressed confidence that Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez would sign the subpoena and even an arrest warrant.
“We want to ferret out the truth here and I am confident that the Speaker will permit our request by signing the subpoena against Dayan and later possibly an arrest warrant against him,” Abu said.
Dayan reportedly was the one who received P10 million that former National Bureau of Investigation deputy director Rafael Ragos and Jovencio Ablen Jr. allegedly delivered to the Parañaque City house of De Lima when she was still Justice secretary.
On the other hand, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said it would no longer be necessary to have Sebastian testify before the House panel.
“I was told that Jaybee only wants to limit his testimony to anomalies in the food supply there [in NBP]. I rejected it because he will not speak the entire truth,” Aguirre said.
“There is no need for him to testify because the testimonies of the other inmates were already clear... I don’t see any reason for Jaybee to still appear there,” he said.
Aguirre said the House committee on justice does not have to issue a subpoena to Sebastian because, as an inmate, his political rights are suspended. With Maricel V. Cruz and Rey E. Requejo
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