MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte insisted Wednesday that opposition Senator Leila de Lima accepted drug payoffs, as she marked her 1,000th day in detention.
Duterte said the “greatest insult” he received from international rights groups is their refusal to accept that the drug charges against De Lima are supposedly true.
“On my oath as President, I'm telling you, it is true. If she really did collect money, why? She was not into business but ambitions can blind you. That is why you need money to run for senator. You need millions to do that,” he said in a speech during the 80th anniversary celebration of the Department of National Defense in Camp Aguinaldo.
“They took the line of the left that she is a political prisoner,” he added.
De Lima, one of President Duterte’s fiercest critics, was accused of accepting payoffs from convicted drug lords during her time as justice chief and has been detained in Camp Crame since February 2017.
She has repeatedly dismissed the allegations against her as “political persecution.”
The President also claimed again that De Lima has an alleged sex video.
“Can you really believe a woman like that? Allowing herself... She was then the Justice Secretary,” he said.
De Lima, in a statement Wednesday, said it is her honor to be detained for her convictions.
“Today, 1,000 days since my arrest, I say it again: Karangalan ko po na makulong dahil sa mga ipinaglalaban ko. Palagian po nating tandaan: hindi laging maghahari ang dilim. Our truth will defeat their lies,” she said.