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De Lima to Duterte: 'What do you want from me? Do you like me?'

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Amid incessant attacks by President Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Leila De Lima called on the President to stop "harassing" her.

De Lima was reacting to Duterte's strong words on Monday, September 26, during the oath-taking of Malacañang Press Corps officers.

The President said that De Lima is sure to be jailed for her alleged drug links. He also said he wants to quiz De Lima on her alleged sex video, which the President first brought to public attention.

Duterte also cast doubt on inmate Jaybee Sebastian's supposed role as government asset, asking whether the latter is indeed a source of information or a "sexual asset."

"Naaawa na po ako sa inyo mahal na Pangulo. Tigilan 'nyo na po ako. Ano pong gusto 'nyo sa kin? May gusto po ba kayo sakin?" the embattled senator told reporters.

(I pity you, Mr President. Stop attacking me. What do you want from me? Do you like me?)

In a separate statement, De Lima criticized Duterte's "foul mouth" anew, hitting Duterte's apparent "obsession" with her.

"The President's foul mouth has again desecrated the hollowed grounds of Malacañang with another round of his vile personal attacks against me. I cannot resist asking the President, what do you see in me that you find so sexual? Why is your mind so fixated on my sexual aspect? You are so obsessed with me. Why???" the senator said.

De Lima has denied all accusations thrown at her, saying whatever evidence would be presented are sure to be "fabricated."

'Lowest, vilest' man

With all the attacks, De Lima called the President the "lowest and vilest" man in the country, as she wished Duterte divine forgiveness for his acts.

"Sabi nga ninyo, the President is again going ballistic. Naaawa na po ako sa ating Pangulo. Patawarin na lang po siya ng mahal na Diyos, 'yung kanyang mga pinaggagagawa. All of a sudden, for me, he's the lowest and the vilest man in the country sa sobrang kabastusan na po niya," De Lima said.

(Like you said, the President is again going ballistic. I pity our President. May the Lord forgive him for his actions. All of a sudden, for me, he's the lowest and the vilest man in the country because he is so uncouth.)

The senator, who's a former justice secretary, earlier said she disclosed Sebastian's role as government asset to dispel allegations that the inmate was the one getting money for her.

Some witnesses last Wednesday, September 21, accused De Lima of giving preferential treatment to Sebastian – something that De Lima denied. They based the alleged special treatment on Sebastian's non-inclusion in the so-called "Bilibid 19" following the raid on the NBP in December 2014.

De Lima has already repeatedly denied having a sex video, saying it was only meant to harass and discredit her. 

De Lima drew the ire of Duterte after launching a probe into the spate of extrajudicial killings under his administration.

Days after she presented witness Edgar Matobato, self-confessed hitman of the Davao Death Squad, De Lima was ousted as chairperson of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, the panel leading the probe. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

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 camille.elemia@rappler.com

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