Furious de Lima slams Duterte 'drug matrix': Is this a joke?

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 25 2016 01:02 PM | Updated as of Aug 25 2016 05:47 PM

MANILA - "Is this a joke, was it a joke? This joke, like most of his jokes before this latest one that he will surely regret "

These were the words of Senator Leila de Lima as she assailed Thursday President Rodrigo Duterte's matrix showing her alleged connection to the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons.

The furious senator said she was no longer surprised that Duterte tagged her in the drug trade but believes she will be able to prove her critics wrong.

"It amused me how his men desperately tried to link me to the Muntinlupa connection flick. Where is the so-called drug link or links in this so called drug matrix?" de Lima told reporters.

Stressing that the matrix is nothing more than a list of names, de Lima added: "Like the many tirades against me, these are bound to fail again with all of these trumped up accusations and worst matrix of all time."

"Even a 12-year-old can draw such a matrix," she added.

De Lima also said that she will no longer dignify the matrix, "which any ordinary lawyer knows too well, belongs to the garbage can."

Early Thursday, Duterte released a "matrix" showing links between de Lima and several others allegedly involved in illegal drug activities at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) under the previous administration.

READ: Duterte's 'drugs matrix' tags De Lima, others

Duterte disclosed the document in the early hours of the morning in Davao City after a press conference and visit with journalists at a local park in the city.

The names listed in the matrix are:
- Senator Leila De Lima
- De Lima's former driver Ronnie Palisoc Dayan
- former Justice Undersecretary Francis Baraan
- Urbiztondo, Pangasinan Board Member Raul Sison
- Pangasinan provincial administrator Rafael Baraan
- Pangasinan Rep. Amado Espino
- Former Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Bucayo
Duterte did not say where the information in the matrix came from.

READ: Solon in 'drug matrix': How can I band with my foe, de Lima?

De Lima noted that all arrows in the matrix connect her Espino -- making the "laughable" insinuation that she works for the congressman, whom she once investigated for murder when she was still Justice Secretary.

De Lima said the case against Espino was dismissed at the preliminary investigation due to supposed inconsistencies in the statement of her underage witness.

"Ngayon sasabihin na kasabwat ko siya. Grabe talaga sila mag-imbento ng kwento, sobrang katawa-tawa," she said. "This whole madness is laughable."

[Now, they're saying that he's my cohort. The way they fabricate stories is hilarious. This whole madness is laughable. ]

READ: Solon in 'drug matrix': How can I band with my foe, de Lima?

De Lima also said she pities the President for supposedly becoming a laughingstock due to his unfounded claims.

"Sa totoo lang, noong mga nakaraang ilang araw, sobra iyung pagngingitngit ko sa mga inilalabas. Pero ngayong araw po, noong nakita ko na po itong matrix, natatawa na lang ako at naaawa sa Pangulo."

[Ove the past days, I was furious with the accusation against me. But upon seeing this matrix, I just the situation funny and I pity the president.]

She also pleaded with the President to stop his "madness."

"Sana po maawa na rin sa akin ang Pangulo na tigilan na po niya iyan. This is already madness," de Lima. [I hope the President would me too and stop this madness already.]

De Lima earned the Duterte's ire long before they were both national officials. Years ago, de Lima accused Duterte of leading the Davao Death Squad, an accusation the now-president repeatedly denied.

De Lima now leads a Senate investigation of the alleged rampant killings of drug suspects amid the government's war against narcotics and criminality.

Duterte has accused de Lima of "flaunting" an illicit affair with her driver, who allegedly accepted campaign funds from drug lords detained at NBP. He said he will not stop until the senator answers for her alleged involvement in illegal drugs.

READ: Duterte won't back down vs De Lima