MALACAÑANG yesterday came to the defense of President Rodrigo Duterte, stressing that his attack on Sen. Leila de Lima was prompted by her moral posturing and assumption that the administration’s war on drugs was to blame for the spate of extrajudicial killings.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that Duterte understood that “public discourse has its dynamics and parameters as can be witnessed in his exchange with Supreme Court Justice Sereno. However, he has taken umbrage with Sen. De Lima’s approach, of not only taking the moral high ground with regard to drug-related deaths, but her assumptions that said deaths are directly attributable to President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs,” Abella said.
Abella said that President Duterte is “appalled by Sen de Lima’s history for jumping to conclusions about the President’s culpability without sufficient evidence, lack of appreciation of the magnitude of the menace, and taking the opportunity to grandstand in spite of the gravity of the situation.”
Earlier, Duterte attacked De Lima ahead of the Senate probe into alleged summary killings during anti-illegal drugs operations by police, which the lady Senator would lead as chair of the Senate committee on justice.
The President turned personal against the senator, accusing her of having a “driver and lover” who accepted drug money from “Muntinlupa.” He was referring to money from drug lords at the National Bilibid Prisons.
“Here is an immoral woman….Here is a woman who funded the house of her lover. Those money came readily from drugs. The intercept between Muntinlupa and the driver were far beyond making sure that somebody was involved,” Duterte said.
The President clarified that “in fairness” he was not saying there that the driver gave the senator drug money.
“But by the looks of it, she has it (money),” Duterte said without elaborating.