President Rodrigo Duterte again accused opposition Senator Leila de Lima, insisting she received money from drug payoffs as the lawmaker marked her 1,000th day in jail over allegations of drug charges.
Duterte, speaking at the anniversary celebration of the Department of National Defense on Wednesday, slammed De Lima over a video that supposedly showed her having sex with her driver Ronnie Dayan.
“She allowed to be filmed when she was having sexual intercourse with her driver, who was the collector. And that picture has been making the rounds. You saw it all, Duterte said in his speech.
“Can you really believe a woman like that? Allowing herself... She was then the Justice Secretary. And if you want, I will give the disc to you. Look at the way she slurped after doing it. And her doggie...her favorite doggie was walking around.”
Duterte also said the “greatest insult” he received from international rights groups was their refusal to accept that the drug charges against De Lima were true.
“On my oath as President, I’m telling you, it is true. If she really did collect money, why? She was not into business but ambitions can blind you. That is why you need money to run for senator. You need millions to do that, he said.
“They took the line of the left that she is a political prisoner,
De Lima is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame over allegations she allowed the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison during her term as justice secretary.
She was also accused of extorting money from drug lords to fund her senatorial campaign in 2016.
She has repeatedly dismissed the allegations against her as “political persecution” and “politically-motivated.”
De Lima, in a statement Wednesday, said it was an honor for her to be detained for her convictions.
“Today, 1,000 days since my arrest, I say it again: I am honored to be detained because of the things that I fight for. We should remember: The wicked will not always rule. Our truth will defeat their lies, she said.
The witnesses in the charges against her were convicted drug traffickers who have not presented physical evidence to prove their testimonies.
The supposed video Duterte was referring to was meant to establish a beyond-professional relationship between De Lima and Dayan, whom her accusers claimed was her “bagman.”
Rights groups condemned De Lima’s continued “unjust and arbitrary” detention, adding the cases against her should be dismissed.
“The bogus charges against her should be dropped and she should be released immediately,” Human Rights Watch said.
A group called Committee for the Freedom of Leila M. De Lima also urged Duterte to free the lawmaker.
“Given the dubiousness of the charges against Senator Leila M. de Lima and the indubitable violations of her rights, we urge the Government of the Philippines to immediately free Senator Leila de Lima, and to drop the charges against her,” the group said in a statement.
“Remedying Senator de Lima’s situation without delay is a demonstration to the Filipino people and the international community that the Philippines can still stand with the rest of the world in defense of freedom and human rights,” it added.
Among the more than 300 signatories were Vice President Leni Robredo, former president Benigno Aquino III, Commission on Human Rights chairman Chito Gascon and lawyer Rene Saguisag.