De Lima on Duterte’s ‘foul’ remarks: It’s character assassination

MANILA — A teary-eyed Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday cried foul over President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent remarks about her, describing them as a form of “character assassination”.

Duterte, during his speech at the 115th service anniversary of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Camp Crame Wednesday, mentioned how a certain senator had a “lover” who accepted drug-money from the Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.

Though the President did not mention a name, he said that the senator was an “immoral woman” who funded the house of her lover.

De Lima said she was taken aback by the statements, which she did not want to dignify.

“It’s so foul. It’s character assassination. We’re both professionals, we’re both public servants. Wherever that information is from, he should double-check. He should find the source,” de Lima told reporters.

”I don’t know what their agenda is. It’s a very clear case of character assassination and I did not expect the president to do that,” she added.

Duterte made the remarks after the former justice secretary last week called for a probe into the extra-judicial killings under the administration’s intensified anti-drug campaign.

De Lima said that she wants to know if the operational procedures of the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and other law enforcement agencies are legitimate.

In an open letter to the President, she also expressed hope that he would monitor the probe, citing reports that most of the killings were not even related to the campaign.

An estimated 500 drug pushers and users have been killed in the war on illegal drugs under the Duterte administration, according to reports. Azer Parrocha/PNA/