MANILA, Philippines – The information didn’t come from them and there are no police “efforts” to investigate President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim about Senator Leila de Lima.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Thursday, August 18, said that an agency has been tasked to look into Duterte’s accusations, but not the police, referring to the President’s statement linking De Lima’s driver to the illegal drugs trade. (READ: FULL STATEMENT: De Lima responds to Duterte’s attack)
“We’re still looking for evidence but I think there’s an agency that’s already working on that. As far as the PNP is concerned, we have no efforts regarding that,” Dela Rosa said in a press conference.
In a speech during the PNP’s 115th service anniversary on Wednesday, August 17, Duterte accused De Lima of “politicking and posturing” by “criticizing” the government’s anti-illegal drugs efforts when she herself had a “very sordid personal and official life.”
The former justice secretary turned lawmaker is set to hold a legislative probe into alleged instances of extrajudicial killings during police operations. Duterte has waged a government-wide campaign against illegal drugs led by the police.
Dela Rosa played coy when pressed on Duterte’s information but stressed the information did not come from the PNP. “As I’ve said, the President has the luxury of access to all intelligence in the Philippines. A lot of intelligence agencies give him inputs,” added Dela Rosa.
De Lima and Dela Rosa had a quick exchange on Thursday, during a hearing on possible revisions to laws that would aid the campaign against illegal drugs.
The senator asked Dela Rosa if the PNP felt that former president Benigno Aquino III’s administration failed to address the country’s drug problem. De Lima was Aquino’s justice secretary for most of his term.
Dela Rosa said he didn’t think the previous administration failed in cracking down on illegal drugs but admitted that it was not its focus.
On Monday, August 22, the Senate committee on justice led by De Lima is set to begin its probe. When asked if he had already gotten the invitation for the Monday hearing, a laughing Dela Rosa told De Lima: “I would be very happy to face you on Monday, your honor.” – Rappler.com
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