SENATOR Leila de Lima has described as an “absolute lie” the allegation of President Rodrigo Duterte that her alleged driver-lover used to collect alleged drug money from jailed drug lords at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa during the last campaign season.
She lamented that the public seemed “at a loss” about the truth behind the President’s accusation against her. She also deplored the Chief Executive’s abuse of his power to get back at his critics.
“Ang nakikita ko po kasi ngayon, parang hindi na alam ng tao ngayon alin ang totoo dyan, alin ang hindi. Totoo ba ‘yan? Kasinungalingan ba ‘yan? This is what I can say at this point. Okay, may kaunting totoo d’yan,” said De Lima but she did not elaborate.
“Pero karamihan d’yan, exaggerations, distortions and lies. And foremost of the lies is ‘yung sinasabing may nangongolekta para sa akin sa Bilibid. That is an absolute lie,” said De Lima in a chance interview.
She added: ”Now, bakit hindi nabanggit ‘yan kahapon? Matagal ko na ho dine-deny ‘yan. Madalas ko na ho dinedeny yan sa mga various interviews because remember these are the insinuations na protektor ako, coddler ako ng drug lords or drug convicts dahil nakikinabang ako. I’m on their payroll, sinasabi nila or nagcontribute sila sa campaign funds ko.”
The President Thursday claimed that he can validate his allegation against De Lima and he will present it to the public the soonest. “But, ilang beses ko na yan dine-deny. So, I’m denying it again,” said De Lima.
“(That’s) an absolute lie. That’s completely false! I would never do that because I’ve never betrayed my oath as a public servant and I don’t intend to betray my oath as a public servant, lalo na may mandato ako sa taumbayan,” she said.
“So that’s what I can tell you right now. You know, bakit completely silent ako. It’s very difficult for me kasi, I don’t want to be publicly engaging na paisa-isa ko i-explain ‘yan, etcetera. But this is what I can tell you. We’ve seen some snippets of facts, snippets of truths, but the bulk of it are distortions, exaggerations, and lies,” she added.
Senator Bam Aquino has advised De Lima not to be afraid amid the personal attacks against her by the administration. “Huwag matakot, huwag matinag!” he told De Lima, his fellow Liberal partymate.
“Nakakalungkot na naging personal na ang mga atake kay Sen. Leila de Lima ngunit sana’y huwag siyang magpatinag at walang takot na hanapin ang katotohanan at hustisya sa pagdinig ng Senado sa Lunes,” said Aquino.
He is confident that de Lima “can weather the storm, being a tough and brave government official.” Aquino added: “Kilala natin si Sen. De Lima bilang matapang at matibay na lingkod-bayan kaya tiwala akong malalampasan niya ang mga pagsubok na kaakibat ng pagganap sa tungkulin bilang mambabatas.”
De Lima, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, is set to start the investigation into the spate of extra-judicial killings of suspected drug traffickers on Monday, August 22.