De Lima fumes at ‘drug trafficker’ tag at Senate hearing
Senator Leila de Lima blew her top on Tuesday when a lawyer during a Senate hearing used her as an example of those charged with drug trafficking.
In pushing for the passage of the death penalty bill during the joint hearing of the Senate committees on justice and human rights, and on constitutional amendments and revision of codes, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, legal counsel of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), noted how drug traders continued their business even behind bars.
“Many drug traders while they are behind bars have shown that they are still capable of dealing in drugs which is why the VACC, the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and other agencies have filed cases for drug trafficking against Senator De Lima and other persons,” Topacio said.
“Now whether these charges are proven true or not, we don’t know. But the fact remains that these pushers have admitted before a congressional inquiry that they still deal in drugs…” he said.
Topacio was apparently referring to the investigation conducted by the House of Representatives on the alleged proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison when De Lima was still the justice secretary.
After Topacio’s opening statement, De Lima took the mic and chided the lawyer for singling her out on the drug issue.
“Atty. Topacio here, while not in very expressed terms, just called me a drug trafficker. I want him to take that back,” an angry De Lima said.
But the lawyer pointed out that his statement on the drug trafficking charges against De Lima remained allegations until proven true.
“Yes, but of all people, why single out only Senator Leila de Lima? I’m not a drug trafficker! Bakit hindi mo pangalanan yung mga tunay na drug trafficker. Ako lang ang kinakasuhan nyo (Why don’t you name the real traffickers. I’m the only one you’re accusing) ,” the lady senator added.
Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the justice committee, had to suspend the hearing. CDG/rga
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