De Lima: Duterte’s men depicted me as ‘drug lord protector’
Senator Leila de Lima decried on Tuesday the alleged demolition campaign against her purportedly by President Rodrigo Duterte’s men, who she said portrayed her as a “drug lord coddler” and “protector.”
“Mr. President, I have been vilified and attacked, not only in social media but also by the President’s men as a drug lord coddler and protector,” De Lima said in her privilege speech.
“I have been ridiculed and called names in social media. Photos are photoshopped, videos are spliced, lies are manufactured,” she said.
The senator said the magnitude of the propaganda and misinformation was “mind-boggling” considering, she said, that it was directed at her.
“The lies are intended to show me as protector of the Bilibid drug lords. But the truth is I was the only Justice Secretary since 1986 Edsa Revolution who dared to eradicate the dominion of the drug lord inside Bilibid,” she said.
De Lima, who was Justice Secretary before she was elected senator last May 9, said it was during her term when they started to clean up the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) of drugs.
Their anti-drug campaign, she said, showed that there was no shabu laboratory inside the national penitentiary.
“Yes Mr. President, there is no shabu laboratory inside the Bilibid Prison, not even in the tunnels under it. Those who will search the tunnels will get a whiff not of the smell of cooking methamphetamine, but of methane that comes from the human waste of the prisoners above.”
“Sa termino ko lang po bilang Justice Secretary nag-umpisang maglinis sa Bilibid. Sa termino ko lang po giniba ang mga mararangyang ‘kubol’ ng drug lords at naitapon sila sa Building 14, hiwalay sa mga ordinaryong preso (It was in my term as Justice Secretary when Bilibid cleanup started. It was in my term when the luxurious kubol of drug lords were destroyed and they were transferred to Building 14, apart from ordinary inmates). But of course, all of this has been sorely forgotten in the face of a formidable demolition campaign against me in the social media,” she said.
The senator did not identify the people behind the demolition job against her but she noted in particular Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II’s alleged claim that high-ranking officials of the Department of Justice during the previous administration were supposedly on the payroll of the NBP drug lords.
“Secretary Aguirre did not mention my name, but going by the previous statements of the Solicitor General and the Speaker, one does not have to be a genius to guess who he is referring to,” she said.
“I am outraged that he has qualified this matter-of-fact statement with the actual truth that he has yet to create a task force that will yet conduct an actual investigation on his foregone conclusion that indeed there were pay-offs to DOJ officials.”
“Mr. President, this is the Justice Secretary confused about his law school memory on how due process works. Accuse only after you investigate.”
De Lima said she could not stay silent “in the face of all these blatant lies created in the backroom of a media strategy office suite.”
“I will not fall without a fight. I will not go into that good night without nary a whimper, while all these misguided men use the President’s war against drugs as their platform to destroy any elected public official who dares question the methods by which this war is waged,” she said.
“I will not surrender my mandate as a Senator of the Republic to these unelected and unaccountable personalities whose own motivations in the demolition of my person is highly questionable and utterly despicable. I cannot let these men run this demolition outfit only for them to accomplish their own personal and political agendas, to curry favor with the President, and to get a larger share of the spoils of Executive Power,” the senator further said. RAM/rga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.