Senator Leila de Lima rejected anew on Thursday calls for her resignation amid allegations linking her to illegal drugs. “Should I?” Ako ang ginigipit nila sa mga walang katuturan na mga akusasyon nila and then ako ang magre-resign?” De Lima said at a press conference in the Senate. “I don’t want to speak further baka kung ano pa ang masasabi ko, lalong magagalit yang mga yan,” she said. (Should I? They are implicating me over pointless accusations and then I’m expected to resign? (I don’t want to speak further, I might say something they won’t like, infuriating them even more.) Fresh calls for her to resign have been revived following the appearance of more alleged witnesses linking her to the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison when she was still the Justice Secretary during the past administration. READ: De Lima: I won’t resign President Rodrigo Duterte himself has called on the senator to resign but the latter rejected it. “If I were De Lima, ladies and gentlemen, I’ll hang myself. The innermost of your core as a female is being serialized every day. Dapat ka (you should) mag-resign ka. You resign,” Duterte was quoted as saying by the media last month.
President Duterte has upped the ante in his quarrel with Sen. Leila de Lima, telling her to resign from the Senate because, if he were in her shoes, he would have hanged himself already. “If I were De Lima, ladies and gentlemen, I’ll hang myself. The innermost of your core as a female is being serialized every day. Dapat ka (you should) mag-resign ka. You resign,” the President said in a brief talk at the Divine Word University Hospital here after he visited a police officer who was shot by a suspected drug pusher in Samar last week. “Wala ka nang mukha na ipakita sa mga babae (You have lost face with women). Follow me, I will show you how it is to be a woman of the world,” he continued. Mr. Duterte accused De Lima of taking money from drug lords and allowing the drug trade to proliferate in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) during her tenure as justice secretary in the previous administration. He also accused her of having an affair with her driver whom he alleged was the collector of the drug money. This was days before the senator chaired last week a Senate inquiry into the extrajudicial killings that have accompanied the President’s war on illegal drugs. Sought her reaction, De Lima on Monday said resigning from the Senate would mean admitting to something that she did not do. “On the call for resignation, you know, I’ve told you that has crossed my mind so that they would be quiet, so they would leave me alone, and so that my life would be peaceful… that I just resign,” De Lima said.
Neither weak, guilty “But after much reflection, I repeat, resignation at this point will be an admission of guilt and a sign of weakness. And I’m neither weak nor guilty,” she said. She said the President had already judged her guilty and expressed doubt about the fairness of his staunch ally, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who will lead the congressional inquiry into the drug trade at the NBP. “That will be difficult. I know that I have nothing to do with that. And I’m judged guilty already by the President. And then you think the Speaker will be anything near fair to me?” De Lima said in an interview at the Senate. “I’m already judged guilty, I’m finished in so far as the President is concerned, that’s why he’s asking me to resign. And then I go and face [the House inquiry]? Wala na akong kahihiyan sa sarili ko noon ah (I would have lost all self-respect then),” she added. Mr. Duterte arrived at the hospital here at 2 p.m. to visit PO1 Nestor Villanueva. He was welcomed by Tacloban Mayor Cristina Romualdez and local officials.
He came from Catbalogan City in Samar where he visited the wake of PO1 Gary Cabaguing. Villanueva and Cabaguing, both with the Samar Provincial Police, went to the house of a suspected drug pusher in Barangay Logero, Marabut town in Samar on Aug. 24 to serve an arrest warrant for murder. They did not know that suspect Ernesto Gonzales was hiding in a hole in a room of the house. When they entered the room, Gonzales peppered them with bullets from a high-powered firearm. Cabaguing, 32, a father of two, died instantly after he was hit in the face. Villanueva, 25, was wounded in the right chest. Gonzales managed to escape. President Duterte’s visit to Villanueva lasted almost 30 minutes. After he left the hospital room, he said: “Nandito ako para suportahan, ipakita sa mga pulis (I am here to support, to show the police) that they have my support, personal and magtutulong ako (I will help), whatever it takes,” he said.