Embattled Sen. Leila de Lima is back in the country after receiving an award abroad amid President Duterte’s allegation that she benefited from the illegal drug trade when she was justice secretary.
“I am back safe and sound. I am here to belie speculations of people who are trying to demolish me. I am here to face all their concocted accusations in due time in the proper venue,” De Lima told reporters upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 late Tuesday night from her trip to the United States and Germany.
De Lima was happy when greeted by journalists upon her return.
When asked if she is willing to reconcile with her former driver and lover Ronnie Dayan who testified against her in the congressional inquiry, De Lima said, “I have forgiven him, but I have no way to see him.”
De Lima was also asked about the state of her love life. Her reply: “I am happy being single right now. I will spend my Christmas with my family, my nephews and nieces.”
De Lima went to Washington last week to receive an award from a popular international political magazine. She was named as one of 100 Foreign Policy Global Thinkers.
She was awarded for standing up against Duterte’s bloody war on drugs marked by reports of summary killings and human rights violations. She was honored “for standing up to an extremist leader.”
‘Fentanyl damaged Duterte’s mind’
In another interview yesterday, De Lima got back at Duterte, saying if there is one drug addict that the government should go after in its war against drugs, it is the President.
Duterte earlier admitted that he had been taking Fentanyl to help him cope with the pain in his spine.
De Lima said Duterte is apparently suffering from the effects of prolonged drug use, particularly on his mind.
She denied anew the allegation that she received money from drug lords, saying that she has neither received money from any drug lord nor taken any illegal drug in her life.
“At least I, whom he recklessly and wrongly accuses as a narco-politician, haven’t taken a single addictive drug in my life, while he who runs amok and froths in the mouth like a rabid animal has the temerity to make up a list, when he should be on the top of that list,” she said.
“Duterte should stop taking Fentanyl because obviously it has already driven him to madness and to fits of paranoia, where everyone he sees is either a drug addict or a drug lord. This is already all so hilarious if not for its murderous effect, with the whole PNP and vigilante squads following his command to kill, kill, kill,” she added.
De Lima advised the President to stop abusing drugs so that he could “experience a lucid interval and discover how crazy this drug war witch-hunting has become.”
“I’m almost sure that the new list of drug lords/protectors is again laden with errors, or one which did not undergo a thorough process of verification/validation as would negate any doubt as to its veracity,” she added.
De Lima also lamented that some of her colleagues are not convinced by her repeated denials on her alleged involvement in illegal drugs.
De Lima was commenting on calls by some of her fellow senators, the latest of whom was Sen. Grace Poe, for her to explain why illegal drugs apparently proliferated during her term as secretary of justice.
“It’s saddening and frightening that even high-ranking public figures have swallowed hook, line and sinker the fantasy that the Duterte administration has been weaving: that a single person was single-handedly responsible for the proliferation of drugs in our country, and that it took place only over the course of my term as secretary of justice,” she said in a statement.
She said the drug problem will “not be solved by forming a lynch mob to gang up on a scapegoat.” The drug menace will not be addressed by denying facts, including about the source of the drugs that flow into the country and complicity of law enforcers on the ground.
The senator said the same law enforcers who facilitate the entry of drugs are now given a license to kill and plant evidence on those killed. – Rudy Santos, Marvin Sy, Paolo Romero