LP senators rally behind De Lima amid Duterte’s tirades
Liberal Party (LP) senators have rallied behind their partymate, Senator Leila de Lima, urging the Senate leadership to make a stand on what one described as an “unprecedented attack” on its member.
“The Liberal Party will stand by and support Senator De Lima,” LP vice chair and Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon said in a text message to reporters Wednesday night, reacting to President Rodrigo Duterte’s accusations against De Lima.
Duterte earlier called De Lima an “immoral woman” supposedly for having an affair with her driver, who he said had allegedly collected drug money for her campaign in the last May elections.
READ: Duterte slams De Lima
Asked if the Senate should take a stand on the issue, Drilon said: “Yes, the Senate President should take a stand on this unprecedented attack on a senator.”
Senator Risa Hontiveros echoed Drilon’s statements, saying the Senate should rise to the occasion and defend the integrity of one of its members. Hontiveros is a senator of the Akbayan Party list, which is in coalition with the LP in the Senate.
“I also hope that the Senate, as an institution, will rise to the occasion and defend the integrity of one of its members, even as it tries to find ways to peacefully and prudently resolve this matter,” Hontiveros said in a separate text message.
She said Duterte’s remarks against De Lima were “unpresidential” and were a “breach of parliamentary courtesy.”
“It unnecessarily sets the Executive and Senate on a dangerous collision course,” said Hontiveros.
“It is also a sad display of ‘ad hominem politics,’ which gave premium to personal attacks over real arguments, and appealed to prejudices rather than discourse. It betrayed the government’s commitment to transparency since one of the best ways to pursue truth is through healthy deliberations driven by facts.”
As a fellow woman, Hontiveros said she was offended by Duterte’s remarks against De Lima, saying it was a 180-degree turn from his apology to all women who were offended by his rape joke during the campaign.
If the President would not immediately correct or take back his latest statements against De Lima, then Hontiveros said this would give the impression that the government “tolerates, if not encourages, [misogyny].”
“President Duterte must exercise great restraint in making injudicious statements. I again remind him that his public political statements have the force and effect of policy. While the President is known for his colorful language, it is not an excuse to target, without basis, a person’ s integrity,” she said.
“I hope that in the coming days President Duterte will make concrete steps in rectifying his statements and in building a more conducive environment for healthy and mature political exchanges,” Hontiveros added.
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, who is also part of LP, said he was saddened by Duterte’s attack against De Lima
“Nakakalungkot dahil akala ko tapos na yung issue dahil nasabi ni Pangulong Duterte nung nakaraang linggo na ginagawa lang ni Senator De Lima ang trabaho nya,” Pangilinan said.
(It is saddening because I thought the issue between them was over since President Duterte already said last week that Senator De Lima was only doing her job.)
De Lima chairs the Senate committee on justice and human rights, which is set to conduct hearings next week on the spate of killings under the Duterte administration. CDG/rga
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