Duterte: De Lima will surely go to jail

Pia Ranada
Duterte: De Lima will surely go to jail
President Rodrigo Duterte says he wants to be the one asking Senator Leila De Lima questions about her ties to prison gang lord Jaybee Sebastian

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Leila De Lima is sure to go to prison for her alleged involvement in the Bilibid drug trade, said President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

“Makukulong talaga siya, sigurado ‘yan because of the testimonial evidence,” said Duterte on Monday, September 26, during a gathering of journalists covering Malacañang. 

(She will really be imprisoned, that’s certain because of the testimonial evidence.)

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said he is set to file criminal charges against De Lima based on the testimonies of witnesses, a roster which includes prison gang leaders and Bureau of Corrections officials.  

Duterte said the filing of criminal charges will be done after the Congress hearings. There are currently two being pursued: the House probe focuses on Bilibid drug operations while the Senate probe is looking into extrajudicial killings linked to the administration’s war on drugs.

“After the investigations are finished, I am sure of my evidence. Ikaw ‘yung nag-una (You started it). You started in Davao,” said Duterte, referring to De Lima’s time as Commission on Human Rights chairperson when she first expressed alarm over summary executions in Davao City.

The President said “plenty” of charges will be filed against the senator, charges for which bail is not an option.

Duterte wants to question De Lima 

Duterte also thinks it’s about time he be the one posing questions to De Lima.

He will include her in the forum where he intends to pose questions to United Nations and European Union officials if they accept his invitation to come to the Philippines to probe human rights violations in his drug war.

Pati si (Also) De Lima, I’ll place her under oath. Madali lang ‘yan (That’s easy). You are a senator. When you were secretary of justice, you admit you went to the kubol. Is that the normal work of a secretary of justice? Why do you have an asset such as Jaybee Sebastian? Do you not trust the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), the military men, to have your own asset there?” said Duterte.

The President even insinuated that Sebastian and De Lima had sexual relations with each other.

“What was that asset? Was that a sexual asset or a source of information? And why do you have to meet after hours?” he wondered.

Duterte may even show the “video” of De Lima allegedly in bed with a man he originally thought to be her driver, Ronnie Dayan.

“I’d like to show you a video.

 I’d like to show to you a video. There is portrayed there a couple fucking, having sexual intercourse. Who is the man? Of course, you are you here. Who is the man portrayed there? Was he the one in the kubol or the one who was driving you?” he said to demonstrate his line of questioning at De Lima. 

Duterte said his intense anger at the lawmaker stems from his certainty that De Lima only used the “rumors” of extrajudicial killings to criticize Duterte starting from when he was Davao City mayor to “make a name for herself.”

“Then secretary of justice siya, she kept on hammering at me and I said if you have a good case, if the goods are there with you, file a case. Kasi nandiyan ‘yung witness niya, si Matobato, wala siyang ginagawa. Ngayon, naipit na siya,” said Duterte.

(Because her witness was there, Matobato, but she didn’t do anything. Now, she’s against a corner.)

De Lima presented alleged Davao Death Squad hitman Edgar Matobato as a key witness in the Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings. At the time, she led the hearings as chairperson of the Senate committee on justice and human rights.

Accused of bias against the administration, De Lima was ousted by her fellow senators and replaced by Senator Richard Gordon.

De Lima has denied accusations that she facilitated the drug trade in the national penitentiary. She claimed the House hearing looking into her involvement was orchestrated by Duterte through his allies in Congress.

Responding to the President’s latest tirade against her, De Lima on Monday called on Duterte to stop “harassing” her. (READ: De Lima to Duterte: ‘What do you want from me? Do you like me?’– Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.