' Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – Neophyte Senator Leila De Lima strongly denied owning millions and billions of pesos in her bank accounts, as she called her accuser and successor Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and his men a “mafia of lies.”
In response to Aguirre, De Lima said these allegedly questionable accounts are only fabricated to malign her.
“I have no millions or billions in my bank accounts. And I have no dummy accounts. Any alleged accounts that would be linked to me and my alleged drug links can only be fictitious,” De Lima told reporters in a text message.
“Secretary Aquirre and his operators are a mafia of lies and intrigues, who go to bed with criminal convicts just to get their perjured testimonies,” she said.
It was Aguirre who said that the Anti Money Laundering Council has submitted bank documents allegedly showing that P500 million to P1 billion were transferred to De Lima’s accounts.
Aguirre also earlier claimed that two former staff of De Lima testified against the senator and purportedly submitted bank deposit slips. The two, however, publicly denied it.
Why allow Aguirre?
De Lima also hit the House of Representaties for allowing Aguirre, a member of the executive, to lead a congressional inquiry.
She questioned why Aguirre was allowed to examine the same witnesses he brought to the hearing. She pointed out such leeway was not granted to the Senate, when administration allies conducted “uninhibited and grueling cross-examination” of witness Edgar Matobato.
Matobato is a self-confessed hitman of the Davao Death Squad, who accused President Duterte of ordering killings when he was Davao City mayor.
“The House allows Aguirre to conduct the examination of his own witnesses, while in the Senate Matobato is subjected to uninhibited gruelling cross-examination, at times with misleading questions designed to confuse a Grade 1 dropout,” De Lima said.
De Lima is a subject of a House probe into the proliferation of illegal drugs in the national penitentiary. Convicts, criminals, and gang leaders have accused her of receiving drug money – something that the senator has vehemently denied.
De Lima earlier said the witnesses against her in the House probe were either pressured or tortured by the government. – Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, 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 email@example.com