MANILA, Philippines – A day after being ousted as the chairperson of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, neophyte Senator Leila De Lima slammed President Rodrigo Duterte anew for attacking those who oppose him, including herself.
De Lima, in a privilege speech, called the President “Poong Duterte” or Lord Duterte because of his inability to tolerate criticism. (READ: FULL TEXT: De Lima's privilege speech on her ouster)
“Matagal na po itong linya ng kanyang mga bayarang trolls sa social media. Kapag hindi ka Pro-Duterte, ikaw ay drug lord coddler, ikaw ay pusher, ikaw ay isang adik. Ito po ang bagong komunistang panakot sa ating panahon ngayon: Ang Adik. Kapag hindi ka sumamba kay Poong Duterte, ikaw ay adik, dahil adik lang ang hindi sumasamba kay Poong Duterte,” De Lima said on Tuesday, September 20.
(It you are not pro-Duterte, you are a drug coddler, you are a pusher, you are an addict. This is the new communist scare of our times: The Addict. If you do not worship Lord Duterte, you are an addict, because only addicts do not worship Lord Duterte.)
De Lima and Duterte have long-standing differences stemming from the former's investigation of the Davao Death Squad – a vigilante group reportedly sanctioned by the Davao City government when Duterte was mayor – when she headed the Commission on Human Rights.
De Lima again drew the ire of the President when she raised concern over the spate of killings related to the Duterte administration's war on drugs. She pushed for a Senate inquiry into the killings which began in late August.
Duterte, in turn, accused her of links to illegal drugs and being in a relationship with his alleged married driver. His House allies on Tuesday began an investigation into De Lima’s alleged role in the proliferation of drugs inside the national penitentiary, where witnesses took turns testifying against the former justice secretary.
At the Senate, De Lima said she was ousted as chair of the Senate justice committee when the panel was about to get clear details on what transpired in the extrajudicial killings in Davao City. De Lima earlier presented witness Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed hitman of the Davao Death Squad, which supposedly carried out killings on Duterte's orders.
“At ngayon na napapalapit tayo sa paghubad ng katotohanan na ang ganitong pangyayari ay naganap na sa Davao City, ay biglang idedeclare na vacant ang Komiteng dumidinig sa paksa ng patayan,” she said.
(Now that we are closer to uncovering the truth about this kind of incident in Davao City, the committee [position] was suddenly declared vacant.)
In apparent reference to neophyte Senator Manny Pacquiao who moved for her ouster, De Lima said: “Dahil lang sa sinabi ng pinakadakilang tagapagtanggol ng Pangulo sa Senado, at sinegunduhan ng isang Senador na galing sa mga mahihirap, mga mahihirap na ngayon ay walang tigil na Tinotokhang ng mga pulis,” she said.
(Just because it was declared by the greatest defender of the President at the Senate, and seconded by a senator who came from the poor, the poor are now the ones being rattled to no end by the police.)
All dictatorships end
On the eve of the 44th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, De Lima warned those in power that nothing is permanent.
"Mr President, my fellow Senators, on the eve of the 44th Anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law, we must remember that all power, no matter how seemingly absolute, is fleeting. What is permanent is truth and justice," she said.
De Lima earlier said Duterte's war on drugs is already a martial law minus the formal announcement. The senator also criticized Duterte for allowing the hero's burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos, saying such move is meant to make the sins of the past "acceptable" to the present generation, she said, to usher in a new dictator. (READ: Duterte war on drugs 'martial law without declaration')
She also hit Duterte following his declaration of a state of national emergency on the basis of lawless violence.
“Katulad po ng sinapit ng Rehimeng Marcos noong 1986, ang lahat ng diktadura ay may hangganan din. Marahil hindi ngayon, pero ang panahon ng lahat ng may kapangyarihan ay may hangganan,” De Lima said.
(Like what happened to the Marcos regime in 1986, all dictatorships would come to an end. Maybe not now, but the time of all those in power has a limit.)
“Iyan po ang sumpa ng mga may hawak sa kapangyarihan, katulad natin. Maglalaho din 'yan sa daloy ng panahon. Pero ang katotohanan at katarungan ang mananatili,” De Lima added.
(That is the curse of those who wield power, like us. That will diminish with time. But truth and justice will remain.)
She also warned those who are behind the "fake" evidence against her that the time would come when they would have to pay for their actions. – 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