‘House shouldn’t apologize for scrutinizing De Lima-Dayan affair’
One of the congressmen who asked what observers called irrelevant and sexually charged questions on the intimate details of Sen. Leila de Lima’s relationship with her former driver and boyfriend Ronnie Dayan has stood by his line of questioning, saying that he and fellow lawmakers had nothing to apologize for.
Deputy Majority Leader Fredenil Castro on Sunday justified his questions to Dayan regarding his affair with De Lima were necessary to establish the credibility of his testimony.
“Walang dapat ihingi ng paumanhin ang Kamara sapagkat hindi tama ang pananaw ng lahat ng bumabatikos sa naganap na pagdinig noong nakaraang lingo (The Congress has nothing to apologize for, because the critics are wrong in their perception of the hearing this past week). Personally, I stand by my question, I stand by the way I asked those questions,” Castro said over radio DZBB.
“Napaka-importante sa direksiyon na aking tinatahak at direksyon ng aking pagtatanong para maabot ko ang conclusion na kung itong si Dayan ay isang credible o maaaring paniwalaan na testigo o hindi (It is important in my line of questioning to arrive at the conclusion whether Dayan is a credible witness or not),” he added.
During the House justice committee hearing on drug proliferation at the New Bilibid Prison last Thursday, Castro was one of the lawmakers who dwelled on Dayan’s seven-year affair with De Lima, who is accused of coddling drug lords and benefitting from drug money at the national penitentiary.
Castro asked Dayan if his love for De Lima was “true, pure, and strong” (wagas, dalisay, at matatag) and would he betray her in the hearing. Other lawmakers pursued the same line of questioning that elicited laughter in the room, including questions on “climax” and “intensity” of their relationship.
De Lima’s fellow women senators and the country’s highest female official, Vice President Leni Robredo, have condemned the “malicious” and “unnecessary” questions by the congressmen, calling them “slut-shaming” and “public lynching in aid of misogyny and sexism” instead of legislation.
But Castro dismissed criticisms against their line of questioning as politically motivated, adding that public officials should be “carabao-skinned” and not onion-skinned as they undergo public scrutiny.
“Alam mo marami ang bumabatikos dahil daw nasagasaan, marami ang bumabatikos pero kung titingnan mo ito ‘yung mga tao na may mga kinakampihan. Ito ‘yung mga tao na one-sided ang paningin. Ito ‘yung mga tao na ang kanila lamang sinasabi ang dapat mong paniwalaan,” he said.
(There have been many criticizing us, but if you look at them, these are people who just want to protect their affiliations. These are people whose view is one-sided. These are the people who insist that they are the only credible ones.)
“Tingnan mo kung sino itong mga nagsasalita. Sila ba ay mga independent na tao? Tingnan mo kung sino ang mga tumutuligsa. Sila ba ay mga tao na walang kinikilingang pampulitika? Suriin mo ang kanilang pagkatao. Kung ano sila. ‘Yan ang sinasabi ko na bago ka magsalita ay humarap ka sa salamin at tingnan mo ang sarili mo,” Castro added.
(Look at our critics. Are they independent? Look at them. Don’t they have their own political interests? Examine their reputation. That’s what I have been saying, before criticizing us, look at yourself in the mirror first.)
De Lima, who has vehemently denied accusations against her, said no woman deserved to be treated the way she was treated at the House of Representatives, adding that she would face her detractors soon in a proper venue. The lady senator has welcomed the Ombudsman’s fact-finding investigation on drug accusations against her./rga