MANILA - The Liberal Party on Thursday defended Senator Leila de Lima from President Rodrigo Duterte, saying she deserved public support for raising the alarm over the hundreds of deaths linked to the war on illegal drugs.
One week before De Lima leads a Senate investigation on the killings, Duterte on Wednesday accused her of "flaunting" an affair with her driver, whom he also accused of collecting money from drug lords at the national penitentiary.
"She deserves support, not condemnation; respect, and not gutter language; she and our people deserve the facts, not innuendo," the LP said in a statement.
The party also urged Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, a Duterte ally, to protect lawmakers who are merely doing their jobs.
"We call on the Senate President to uphold the independence of the Senate whose membership must always be vigorously supported as they fulfill the people's mandate to make inquiries in aid of legislation," the party said.
An emotional De Lima dismissed the President's attack as "foul" and a form of "character assassination."