Leila de Lima: I’ll fight Duterte’s bid
DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines—Former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima will fight Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s bid to become President if he continues advocating an iron-hand policy that violates human rights.
“I will continue to fight him because [violating human rights] is wrong and a person who has no respect for human rights has no right to lead the country,” De Lima said in a news conference here on Monday.
“If you have no respect for human rights, you also have no respect for the law. So how can he lead our country if that is his belief?” said De Lima, who is running for senator under the administration coalition led by the Liberal Party.
The Department of Justice is investigating reports about the existence of a Davao death squad, to which Duterte has been linked.
According to De Lima, when she was still the chair of the Commission on Human Rights, she went to Davao City, held public hearings and had the mayor subpoenaed.
“I think that was when he got angry with me,” she said.
De Lima said none of the cases prospered because no witnesses offered to testify.
“But we have a self-confessed hitman, who is now under the WPP (Witness Protection Program). He now has a statement and a special team of NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) is validating it and is gathering corroborative evidence,” De Lima said.
She said she had nothing personal against Duterte, noting they both graduated from the San Beda College of Law.
Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz on Monday said he disagreed with Duterte’s solution to the drug menace and criminality in the country—public executions.
“This is very shocking… They (Duterte and those who support his policy) seem to have been born too late, the time of the barbarians is gone,” said Cruz.
The public hanging of convicted criminals no longer has a place in this day and age when civilization has already moved forward.
“I don’t agree with Mayor Duterte as far as taking human life so cheaply and lightly as if it is just getting rid of mosquitoes, getting rid of rats and the like,” said Cruz.
In his regular TV talk show on Sunday, Duterte warned citizens to expect the return of the death penalty and the public hanging of convicted criminals in three to six months if he is elected President, noting that the drug problem has turned into a major threat to national security.
Meanwhile, Duterte and his vice presidential running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, yesterday said they would take down half of the 3,000 to 5,000 drug lords to stop the drug menace if the win.
Duterte went even further by vowing that he would mobilize the military and the police as well as use the “extraordinary powers of the President” to stop the drug problem in the country.
“In three to six months, everything has to stop. Corruption, drug, criminality. You criminals are oppressing the Filipinos, and I hate it,” Duterte said, as quoted in a statement issued by Cayetano’s office yesterday.
The statement quoted what Duterte had said in his television program in Davao on Sunday. With Jocelyn R. Uy and Christine Avendaño