MANILA – Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for issuing a ''misogynistic'' tirade against Senator Leila de Lima.
Duterte on Wednesday accused de Lima of having an illicit affair with her married driver, who allegedly receives drug money in the senator's behalf.
De Lima fired back at the Duterte, saying the president is abusing and misusing his executive power by issuing such a ''foul'' tirade.
Hontiveros said Duterte's tirades against de Lima establish a consistent and disturbing pattern, which is prejudicial to women.
''As a woman, I take deep offense at President Rodrigo Duterte's latest remarks against fellow Senator Leila de Lima. They are misogynistic,'' Hontiveros said.
The senator cited how Duterte figured in a controversy where he said he ''should have been the first'' to have sex with an Australian missionary who was raped and killed in 1989.
She also recalled how Duterte threatened to declare Martial Law after being called out by Supreme Court chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno over his ''narco-list'' in which several judges were named.
Hontiveros also criticized Duterte for resorting to personal attacks instead of engaging de Lima in an intelligent argument.
She said the president's attack on a sitting senator is ''extremely unpresidential and a breach of parliamentary courtesy."
''His statements depart from the government's commitment to transparency since one of the best ways to pursue truth is through healthy deliberations driven by facts,'' she said.
''Moreover, the remarks were extremely unpresidential and a breach of parliamentary courtesy. It unnecessarily sets the Executive and Senate on a dangerous collision course."
Duterte issued his tirades days before the scheduled hearing of de Lima on the spate of killings related to the president's war on drugs.
De Lima has already stressed that the Senate probe aims to find facts and is not a witch hunt against the Duterte administration.
''Sana ay masubaybayan po ninyo ang mga gagawing pagdinig ng Senado ukol sa mga patayang nagaganap. Nais po nating malaman ang katotohanan sa likod ng mga ito. May mga indikasyon o teorya po na nagsasabing hindi lahat ng nangyayaring pagpatay ay talagang kaugnay, kundi kasabay lamang, ng kampanya laban sa droga,'' de Lima said in her open letter to Duterte.
(I hope that you would be able to monitor the Senate hearing on the recent spate of killings. I would like to know the facts behind the killings. There are indications or theories that some of the killings were not directly related to the war on drugs.)
''May mga pagpatay na isinasabay o isinasakay lamang ng mga tiwaling kawani ng pamahalaan at mga kasabwat nila upang pagtakpan ang kanilang karumaldumal na partisipasyon sa kalakalan ng droga. Hindi nila isinusulong, kundi inililihis pa nga ang direksyon ng paglaban sa droga at sinasabotahe ang magagandang layunin ng kampanya."
(There are killings which are being carried out by unscrupulous officials and their cohorts simultaneously with drug operations so they can conceal their participation in the illegal drug trade. They are sowing confusion to the war on drugs and sabotaging the good intentions of this campaign.)
The Liberal Party has also taken up the cudgels for De Lima, saying that the senator deserved public support for raising the alarm over the hundreds of deaths linked to the war on illegal drugs.
READ: De Lima told: 'When they go low, we go high'
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Duterte was displeased that De Lima ''assumed'' that all the drug-related deaths are ''directly attributable'' to the president's war on drugs.
Monitoring being done by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group shows 653 killed in police operations, 335 killed by unidentified assailants, and 93 bodies found away from the crime scene, from May 10 to August 17. Eleven are being killed daily.
READ: Palace: Duterte appalled by De Lima's 'jumping to conclusions'