Instead of fixating on her, Senator Leila de Lima on Saturday urged the public to consider the possibility that President Rodrigo Duterte may be a top drug lord coddler in the country.
De Lima, who Duterte accused of receiving drug money, said the President's admission of ordering the reinstatement of the police official who headed the raid that led to the death of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. "brought more questions than answers" and should be a subject of a Senate inquiry.
“We must start asking ourselves this question: whether or not the President, rather than De Lima, is actually the number one drug lord protector and coddler in the country,” the senator said in a statement on Saturday.
Duterte admitted on Friday that it was he who spoke to Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa to reinstate Supt. Marvin Marcos as head of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Region 8.
The President issued the statement in order to bely claims that it was his long-time aide and Presidential Management Staff head Bong Go who made the call.
"Just as I thought. Since, per my source, it's Bong Go who called PNP Chief Bato, then it must be the President who, directly or indirectly through Bong Go, gave such an order to reinstate Marcos. I guess the President had no choice but to own it up instead of letting Bong Go, his closest aide, trusted confidant, and all around go-to guy, to be the fall guy in this incident," said De Lima
Marcos, along with 17 other cops, was relieved by Dela Rosa for their involvement in the raid on Espinosa's cell in Leyte.
But De Lima said she does not believe Duterte when he said that Marcos' reinstatement was part of an investigative job, adding there is a “more sinister” reason for the President’s actions.
“I'm sure there's a deeper and, possibly, a more sinister reason for the President's action. Otherwise, why would Gen. Bato go through this charade of pointing to a 'kumpadre' instead of just admitting from the start that the President himself ordered the reinstatement?” she said.
The controversy over who ordered the reinstatement began when Dela Rosa said in an ANC interview that there was a “higher official” who phoned him about the issue. He later on said the official was a “kumpare” and was not at all influential.
De Lima, meanwhile, has repeatedly been linked to the illegal drug trade by Duterte and has been the subject of congressional inquiries where high-profile inmates accused her of receiving kickbacks from drug lords.
She has also been tagged by suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa as a recipient of his payola. The senator, however, has denied all these allegations.