Who’s destroying PH image? Cayetano says this ‘DDS’

Camille Elemia

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Who’s destroying PH image? Cayetano says this ‘DDS’
President Duterte's ally, Senator Alan Cayetano, accuses Leila de Lima, Franklin Drilon, and Sonny Trillanes of misleading international media on extrajudicial killings

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday, September 19, accused two Liberal Party (LP) senators and his party mate in the Nacionalista Party of misleading international media on the issue of drug-related extrajudicial killings in the country.

Cayetano said Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon, Senator Leila De Lima, and Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV are the “DDS” that gives the Philippines a bad name, not the Davao Death Squad that has long been linked to President Rodrigo Duterte. 

“DDS nga eh: De Lima, Drilon, and Sonny Trillanes,” Cayetano told reporters while the rest of the senators were in a caucus, which ended with a vote to oust De Lima as chairperson of the committee on justice and human rights.

Last Thursday, September 15, De Lima headed a hearing on extrajudicial killings related to the government’s anti-drug war. She presented a self-confessed gunman, who alleged killings ordered by Duterte when the latter was still mayor of Davao City. 

The co-chair of the investigation, Senator Panfilo Lacson, took offense that De Lima did not inform him she would be bringing along this witness. 

“What I’m saying is these 3 senators have been, as a fact, misleading the international media, niyuyugyog ang presidency, naapektuhan na ‘yung buong bansa. My theory is that they want their woman to take over,” Cayetano said, referring to Vice President Leni Robredo, who belongs to LP.

Robredo, to whom Cayetano lost the vice presidential race in May, earlier said she was “offended” by the senator’s allegation.

Cayetano said the 3 senators are destroying the country’s image and reputation abroad in the hopes of “discrediting” and “ousting” the President from Malacañang.

He accused them of using their connections to foreign news agencies and misleading them with erroneous statistics on the drug war.

“Sa abroad, akala nila ‘yung killings state-sponsored kasi ‘yun ‘binibigay na impression na ibinibigay ni Senator De Lima at iba nilang kakampi. I know for a fact na ginagmit nila ‘yung linya nila sa EU, to a certain degree sa United Nations and sa US,” Cayetano alleged.

People abroad think the killings are state-sponsored because that’s the impression that Senator De Lima and her cohorts are giving them. I know for a fact that they use that line with the European Union, to a certain degree with the United Nations, and the United States.)

De Lima strongly denied the allegations. She said it is the killings, not she, that destroy the country’s image.

“Ang tunay na nakakasira ay ang patuloy na mga patayang nagaganap dito sa ating bayan. Lalo pa itong lumalala dahil sa mga kilos at salita ng matataas na pinuno na tila naghihikayat na isantabi ang karapatang pantao sa paglaban sa ilegal na droga,” De Lima said.

(What destroys the country’s image is the continuous killings. This worsens because of the acts and words of our high-level officials, who seemingly encourage disregard for human rights in the fight against illegal drugs.) – Rappler.com

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a former multimedia reporter for Rappler. She covered media and disinformation, the Senate, the Office of the President, and politics.