MANILA, Philippines – Neophyte Senator Leila De Lima hits Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II anew for the supposed fabricated evidence linking her to illegal drugs in the New Bilibid Prison.
In fact, she said, the "evidence" being used against her is as “fake” as Aguirre’s wig.
"Secretary Aguirre’s alleged evidence against me is like his toupee, his wig – fake and cosmetics only. There is nothing into it other than that. Nothing's authentic,” De Lima said in a statement on Tuesday, September 27.
On Tuesday, Aguirre reiterated that the government has “direct evidence” against De Lima in the form of the two National Bureau of Investigation officials who allegedly delivered money to her house. (READ: Bilibid probe witnesses: We delivered P5-M ‘quota’ to De Lima)
De Lima, the subject of a House probe into the proliferation of illegal drug trade in the Bilibid during her term as justice chief, had earlier claimed that the administration had "pressured or tortured" witnesses into testifying against her at the congressional inquiry.
Unlike the testimonies against her, De Lima claimed the extrajudicial killings are "real."
De Lima said the Department of Justice should focus on running after syndicates that “exploit” some 20,584 minors into drug use and peddling, instead of being fixated on her.
“What is real, however, are the killings. What is tragic is that these killings continue unabated. And the criminals, including these so-called vigilantes, are getting bolder; while the victims are getting younger,” De Lima said.
Criminal, administrative charges
Aguirre also expressed doubt that inmate Jaybee Sebastian is a government asset, contrary to the senator's claim. Aguirre echoed Duterte, who claimed that Sebastian might be a "sexual asset" of De Lima. The President had earlier painted the senator as an "immoral woman" who allegedly appeared in a sex video.
With all these pieces of evidence, Aguirre claimed De Lima would surely face criminal and administrative charges, just as the President had predicted.
"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 investigated the Davao Death Squad allegedly controlled by then Mayor Duterte.
The President said "plenty" of charges would be filed against the senator, involving unbailable offenses.
De Lima, for her part, has pleaded Duterte to stop with the attacks, as she asked the President why is he “obsessed” with her. – Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email firstname.lastname@example.org