MANILA, Philippines — In Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s speech during the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s 115th service anniversary today in Camp Crame, he launched a bold and scornful attack against an “immoral, adulterer” lady senator which he later on confirmed as Sen. Leila de Lima.
The news surprised De Lima but she took time to convey her side of the issue while on break from today’s Senate proceedings.
“Somebody told me that just now. It’s very surprising. My first reaction now [is] I don’t want to dignify that,” said De Lima at the Senate session hall.
Although Sen. De Lima first indicated that she did not want to dignify the accusation by commenting on it, she was noticeably emotional as she tried to acknowledge further questions on what she considered as a clear “character assassination”.
She emphasized that as professionals, the President and herself should not resort to “foul means”.
De Lima also expressed her disappointment and stressed that the President should check his information and verify the source first before making insolent public claims.
It can be remembered that when Sen. De Lima was still the secretary of the Department of Justice, she headed the investigation on Duterte and his alleged connections with the rumored assassin group, the Davao Death Squad.
Earlier this month, De Lima spoke of a possible coordinated attack to destroy her name as she plans to pursue her human rights advocacy against Duterte’s narco war.
Tagged as one of the most vocal critics of the President, the senator has been a subject of bashing and denunciations both by Duterte and his supporters.
When asked how she deals with these every day, she said that: “I don’t respond to any of those. I ignore them. The best antidote is to completely ignore them. But it doesn’t mean I am not hurting. I am human.”