Image Source: Philnews

De Lima vows to carry on with probe into extrajudicial killings.

AN EMOTIONAL Sen. Leila de Lima faced the media on Thursday and appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to give her a level field and a chance to defend herself from his latest attacks.

De Lima, in a prepared statement, complained that she was on unequal footing with Duterte, as she accused the President of unprecedented “abuse and misuse of executive power” when he publicly linked her to illegal drug syndicates and revealed her alleged illicit love affair with her driver.

“I have always been loyal to my oath as a public servant. I’m not the enemy here. Stop portraying me as one,” de Lima said.

“You’re the President. I’m just a senator. An equal fight is all I want. I hope you give to me what has already been given by the law and the Constitution to anyone who is accused under our legal system,” de Lima said in Filipino.

The embattled lawmaker pointed out that Duterte, as President, cannot be sued in court.

“How does one defend oneself, when the attacker is immune from suit, and has all the backing of executive power to support him in his personal attack?” she asked.

“This is no less than abuse and misuse of executive power. I don’t think the Constitution has ever contemplated such abuse of power on such scale, as it assumes every President to conduct himself in a manner befitting the office he holds,” she added.

On Wednesday, Duterte blasted de Lima, a leading critic of his war against illegal drugs, calling her an “immoral woman.”

Duterte accused the lawmaker of having an affair with her driver, who also allegedly collected money from drug syndicates to finance her senatorial campaign.

De Lima called on Duterte to spare her family, friends and former colleagues from attacks because they had done nothing wrong.

“If you are bent on destroying me, please have a decency to spare my colleagues, friends and family. Wala po silang kasalanan [They did nothing wrong],” the senator said.

De Lima however said that if the President thinks his attacks will convince her to stop next week’s Senate investigation into the extra-judicial killings of hundreds of drug suspects, “he can try until he finally silences me or the Senate.”

De Lima also claimed that she knew of cases and “trumped-up evidence” being prepared by the Duterte administration against her, and expressed readiness to answer all allegations.

The senator appealed to the President to put an end to “scare tactics” and “ridicule” and help bring back order through the observance of the rule of law and respect for fellow human beings.

The day after Duterte’s tirade, however, a “sex video” and photos allegedly with de Lima in them made the rounds of the Justice department.

De Lima has repeatedly denied that she has a sex video.

Source: Manila Times

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