MANILA - Ousted Senate Justice Committee chair Senator Leila de Lima on Monday said everything that is happening to her is part of a demolition job started by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte, and admitted she was hurt that the Senate did not assert its independence from the executive.
"This is all part of a demolition job. This is all part of the threat from no less than the President to destroy me. In his mind, I'm supposed to be finished already, so these things being done to me, we can call the finishing touches to that singular and passionate desire of the president to demolish me," De Lima told ANC.
The Senate on Monday night ousted De Lima as chairperson of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and the opposition senator believes the chief executive was behind the plot to unseat her.
Acting on Senator Manny Pacquiao's motion to declare the chairmanship and membership of the Committee of Justice and Human Rights vacant, 16 senators voted yes, 4 voted against, and 2 abstained.
According to De Lima, she expected something like this to happen, following her move to investigate the spate of drug-related killings under the Duterte administration.
"I anticipated that when earlier, during the proceedings, Senator Frank Drilon moved to suspend the proceedings when Senator Alan Peter Cayetano manifested that he is about to deliver a privilege speech.
"While I was hoping or expected that I would be getting a little bit more of support, of votes in my favor, I sort of expected that already, that there's going to be a clear majority in ousting me," De Lima said.
The four senators who opposed her ouster were her party mates from the Liberal Party: Senators Bam Aquino, Frank Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan, and Risa Hontiveros. However, LP Senator Ralph Recto abstained.
TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY
De Lima, a former justice secretary during the Aquino administration, also called the Senate's move a "tyranny of the majority" guided by Duterte.
"The Senate is a collegial body, and therefore the rule of majority prevails. But I would now want to call it tyranny of the majority. Now, whether or not what was done to me was fair, was just, then let the people decide that," De Lima said.
"I wasn't surprised anymore. I know that I will continue to be crucified. I know that I will continue to be pilloried because it's the President himself who wants that," she added.
De Lima, however, admitted that she was hurt because her colleagues, instead of supporting her, added to her woes.
"Now what is hurting on my part, to be honest about it, is that I was expecting that at least the Senate would no longer add to my travails, because they know what's going to happen in the House. They forgot the basic principle of inter-parliamentary courtesy. I was expecting my colleagues to at least not to add anymore to the predicament that I'm in," she said.
"And here we are, they are doing something, or they did something to exacerbate the situation. And what exactly is my "sin"? It's because of my move to investigate the extra-judicial killings. It's because of what happened last Thursday, when we presented this very explosive testimony. I don't think the President would forget about that. I don't think the President would not do anything in retaliation of that development in the course of the hearing. So I feel now that the entire machinery of government, especially the executive machinery, is up against me, and I was expecting the Senate to assert its independence. I was expecting the Senate to come to the defense of a beleaguered colleague but that is not happening because it's precisely the President who is behind this," De Lima added.
De Lima will be delivering her privilege speech Tuesday.
"I'm going to make a reaction to the developments tonight and all the developments that we're seeing, the demolition job that they're launching or they have launched against Senator Leila de Lima. I'm going to make a reaction through my privilege speech tomorrow," she said.
READ: De Lima ousted as Senate justice committee chair