MANILA - Senator Leila de Lima on Sunday said that the issues about her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade are being used to veer the issue away from summary killings.
In an interview on DZMM, De Lima reiterated that she does not have any involvement in the illegal drug trade.
"Pagod na pagod na po ako sa pagsasabing wala ho akong kinalaman sa droga. Hinding hindi ho 'yan mangyayari. Hindi ho 'yan tanggap ng pagkatao ko na mai-involve ako sa droga, na magbe-benefit ako diyan. Isa rin ho akong anti-drug crusader, isa rin akong anti-crime crusader. I was enforcing the laws of the land, the criminal laws of the land when I was Secretary of Justice," she said.
"I'm tired of explaining that I am not involved in illegal drugs. That will never happen. I am also an anti-drug crusader, an anti-crime crusader. I was enforcing the laws of the land, the criminal laws of the land when I was Secretary of Justice.)
De Lima added that the current spate of attacks against her drives the discussion away from the issue of summary killings as a result of the administration's campaign against crime and illegal drugs.
"Ang mas pinaka-issue ho ngayon, 'yung summary killings. Pilit nilang nililihis, pinupunta ho sa akin. Hindi ho tama 'yun kasi unang-una nga, walang katotohanan 'yang bintang na 'yan. Pangalawa, ako ho ay determinado na alamin ang katotohanan naman tungkol sa summary killings," De Lima said.
(The main issue now is summary killings. They keep on putting the focus on me. That is unfair because first, it is not true. Second, I am determined in discovering the truth behind summary killings.)
She also said the issue of summary killings and alleged extrajudicial killings is bigger than her.
"Kaya nga ho gusto ko muna ihawalay 'yung mga ganyang issues na sa akin nakasentro diyan sa tunay na issue because this is bigger than Senator Leila de Lima. This issue on the summary killings, on EJK is personally bigger than Leila de Lima."
(That is why I want to separate issues revolving around me from those issues because those are bigger than Senator Leila de Lima. This issue on the summary killings, on EJK is personally bigger than Leila de Lima.)
"Kaya isa nga po 'yan sa kung bakit ako medyo naghihimutok, is dahil bakit nililihis ang issue, ako na po ang nagiging issue, ako na po ang pinaguusapan," she added.
(That is why I am hurt, because they are focusing on me. I am becoming the topic.)
De Lima, likewise, denied allegations that the illegal drug trade proliferated under her watch as secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
"Kaya medyo nasasaktan ako diyan, two years and then, kapag paulit-ulit nilang sinasabi na this drug problem proliferated under my watch. Maaring talagang dumami 'yung naging problema sa droga within the Bilibid dahil nga diyan sa mga... these are moneyed drug lords. Naba-bribe nila 'yung prison guards at ilang opisyal, tapos pinoprotektahan din sila ng sari-saring gangs in exchange for protection money," De Lima explained.
(That is why I'm hurt, two years and after, whenever they repeatedly say that this drug problem proliferated under my watch. It is possible that the drug problem inside the Bilibid worsened because, well, these are moneyed drug lords. They can bribe prison guards and some officials. They are also protected by various gangs in exchange for protection money.)
President Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday de Lima’s driver was her link to drug lords, who were allowed to run their syndicates from detention when she was Justice secretary.
Duterte dared De Lima’s driver to explain how he was able to afford a big house on his meager salary. He earlier accused the driver of collecting money from the detained drug suspects.
Meanwhile, De Lima is set to conduct a legislative inquiry on Monday into the rising cases of extra-judicial killings, as human rights advocates are now taking Duterte to task for the rising body count as a result of his war on drugs.
Duterte: Driver was De Lima’s link to detained drug lords