"Wow! Where is that money?"
Senator Leila de Lima said this in reaction to the affidavit of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Deputy Director Rafael Ragos on his alleged delivery of P5 million to the senator's residence, twice.
"Lalong sinungaling yan.. I did not receive even a single centavo... I did not and will never receive," De Lima told reporters in an interview after speaking at the Commission on Human Rights-sponsored "Buhay at Babae" Forum.
Minutes before these remarks on Ragos's claims, De Lima said she has already forgiven those who are making false allegations against her, believing that they were either threatened, blackmailed or pressured.
These include her former aide Jonelle Sanchez who, De Lima said, was only forced to do so because he was threatened and pressured along with his wife who is also a member of the Presidential Security Group.
Culture of misogyny
During the "Buhay at Babae" Forum, De Lima took the opportunity to slam President Rodrigo Duterte and the misogynistic culture she believes the latter is nurturing.
“That’s our president,” De Lima said after playing several clips of Duterte’s controversial statements at the forum.
“By the mentality that it’s okay to make jokes about them, and we are being “overly sensitive” or “KJ” (kill joy) by not finding them appropriate -- kaya siguro ang ilan sa atin, without even realizing it, laugh along or, at least, huff out an amused breath or perhaps smile a little to indicate we have a sense of humor.”
De Lima lamented that she has been the subject of vicious attacks on social media, following Duterte’s criticisms of her alleged affair with her former driver and body guard, Ronnie Dayan.
During her speech, De Lima did not directly address her alleged affair with Dayan, but she assailed allegations that she starred in a sex video with him. For her, no woman must be punished for embracing her sexuality.
“Not because only women have or experience it – if all the phallic jokes and fascination with the sexual act and footage thereof is any indication – but because… well, apparently because we are women and, apparently, we have no right to own and enjoy our sexuality,” De Lima said.
“Men can boast about all the women they’ve bedded and conquered. But it’s a mortal sin if a woman even dares to embrace her sexuality.”
De Lima said the slew of offensive and sexist comments against her on social media indicates that Filipinos’ moral fiber is starting to break down, adding that it pains her to see women on social media turning against fellow women. - with a report from Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News