Duterte is killing me, cries senator
MANILA (UPDATED) - Senator Leila de Lima on Monday sought protection from the Supreme Court against President Rodrigo Duterte, as she launched a "legal offensive" against government's efforts to link her to the illegal drug trade.
De Lima filed a petition for habeas data, a legal remedy to secure information related to a person whose life or liberty is at risk.
"Ang sinampahan ko ng kaso ay si Rodrigo Roa Duterte, hindi ang Pangulo ng ating bansa. Nagkataon lang na ang isa sa mga maskarang isinusuot ni Rodrigo Roa Duterte ay ang maskara ng pagka-Pangulo ng ating bansa," she said.
(I am suing Rodrigo Roa Duterte, not the President of our country. It just so happened that one of the masks worn by Rodrigo Roa Duterte is that of the President of the country."
"Si Rodrigo Roa Duterte ang aking sinampahan ng kaso dahil sa kahindik-hindik, karimarimarim at kasuklam-suklam na mga hakbang at pananalita niya laban sa akin -- mga pananalita na walang kinalaman sa kanyang tungkulin bilang Pangulo, kahit na pilit niyang ginagamit at sinasamantala ang posisyong iyan para maisakatuparan ang kanyang personal na pagnanasa na parusahan ako."
(I am suing Rodrigo Roa Duterte because of his shocking, disgusting and revolting actions and statements against me -- statements that have nothing to do with his job as President, even if he continues to use and abuse his position to pursue his personal desire to punish me.)
'DUTERTE IS A BERDUGO'
Duterte had alleged that De Lima's former driver and alleged lover collected money from drug lords detained at the New Bilibid Prisons.
De Lima said personal vendetta is behind Duterte's allegations, noting she had investigated Duterte's alleged involvement in extra-judicial killings as Davao City mayor when she was chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights.
She led a similar inquiry in the Senate.
The senator said Duterte has used his power to "get back at me for the sins I committed against him and those who helped him win the election."
"He started doing to me what was done to victims of extra-judicial killings. He was killing me, not even figuratively, but literally. He even admitted it, he wanted to drive me to suicide," De Lima said.
"He has imposed his own brand of death penalty by bullying through the misuse, abuse and exploitation of the power of the Office of the President and the might of executive, complicity of certain member of Congress and police. And he himself was executing it. Berdugo, isa po siyang berdugo (He is an executioner)."
De Lima vowed that she will not be cowed by the Duterte camp's "name-calling, mud-slinging and lie-through-your-teeth tactic" because doing so means abandoning the victims of extra-judicial slays, as well as prove the President's alleged claim that women are inherently weak.
"Rodrigo Roa Duterte, you are right about one thing, yes, I'm a fighter. And this is me taking my stand, fighting. You call me a slut, a woman of the world -- yes, I am a woman, a strong woman who will not allow an insecure man to destroy [me]," she told the President.
"You cannot make me regret not turning blind, deaf and mute in the face of corruption and gross violation of human rights. In defiance of you and your brand crass of misogyny, which is as of this moment poisoning the minds of our people, I will stand my ground."
'GROUND BREAKING CASE'
Lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno, De Lima's legal counsel, said their complaint against Duterte is "ground breaking" as there is no other case filed against a sitting president over conduct, duties and which in Duterte's case, "constitute sexual harassment, psychological violence and slut-shaming."
"The question we have raised before the Court is very simple: Can a sitting president use the resources of his powerful office to wage a personal vendetta against Senator De Lima as a woman, a human being and a duly elected official in violation of her right to privacy, life, liberty and security?" he explained.
Diokno argued that presidential immunity could not apply to Duterte's tirades against De Lima because these were committed outside his official functions.
"In our view, the doctrine of presidential immunity from suit cannot be used as a shield to block a case like this which is really one of historical and transcendental importance. And if you listen closely to his statements, these statements have been launched against Senator De Lima not because she's a senator but they stem on long-held grudge from the time she was chair of the Commission on Human Rights," he said.