The war between President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Leila de Lima has captivated the attention of the Filipino people. Will the tough crime-busting President prevail? Or will the Senator who advocates human rights triumph?
Both of these politicians have their share of supporters and detractors. To keep you updated, here are some of the most important facts and events regarding the Duterte vs De Lima war. Only time can tell which of the two is telling the truth.
Their war started in 2015
Even before Duterte announced his presidential candidacy, the then Davao City Mayor was already engaged in a word war with the then Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary.
De Lima had been criticizing Duterte for his allegedly violent approach to dealing crime in Davao City, calling him “undemocratic.” During that same period, Duterte had also been accusing De Lima of benefiting from the alleged drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
“Tingnan mo ginagawa mo (Look at what you are doing). Here are guys who are supposed to be in prison, paying retribution for their sins against humanity, pinapataba mo, nagnenegosyo pa (but you are fattening them, allowing them to conduct their business),” Duterte accused.
De Lima believed in Duterte’s potential as a President
During the election period, De Lima admitted that Duterte had the potential to become a good president, minus the vulgarity and foul words.
“Mayor Duterte, minus his proneness for cursing and use of vulgar language, actually has a good vision,” De Lima said in January. Duterte won the May 9 election by a landslide victory.
Duterte shook De Lima’s hand during SONA
One of the most unexpected things that happened during Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address was when he shook the hand of De Lima as he passed him by. But after shaking her hand, Duterte showed an awkward and mysterious facial expression.
Senate inquiry on vigilante killings
After Duterte won the May 9 election, the cases of summary executions in the country increased dramatically. Analysts believe that this is due to Duterte’s statements during the campaign that he supported the killings of drug criminals.
According to media statistics, over a thousand suspected drug criminals have already been killed in summary executions and in police operations since Duterte won.
Despite the SONA handshake, a Senate inquiry on the spate of summary killings was scheduled in August.
De Lima’s privilege speech increased the tension
De Lima, who was the former head of the Commission on Human Rights, gave this statement during her privilege speech in the Senate: “We have to continue opposing the murder of the innocents as well as that of the suspects. We must call for the accountability of state actors responsible for this terrifying trend in law enforcement, and the investigation of killings perpetrated by the vigilante assassins,” De Lima said.
De Lima criticized Duterte’s name and shame drug campaign
Aside from blasting the spate of summary killings, De Lima also criticized Duterte’s strategy of publicly accusing government officials, judges and police officers as having involvement in the illegal drug trade. According to the senator, Duterte should also show solid evidence against the individuals he named.
Duterte described De Lima as an “immoral woman”
The Duterte vs De Lima war came to a head when Duterte accused De Lima of being an “immoral woman.”
“One day I will tell you that her driver himself, who was a lover, was the one collecting money for her during the campaign. An immoral woman, insofar as the driver’s wife is concerned, it’s adultery. Here’s a woman who funded a house of a lover and yet we don’t see any complaint about it,” Duterte alleged.
De Lima defended herself from Duterte’s accusations
“I don't think the Constitution has ever contemplated such abuse of power on such scale, as it assumes every President to conduct himself in a manner befitting the office he holds. It seems that this is not the case for this President,” De Lima said.
She added that she will not stop the Senate inquiry on summary killings despite the President’s personal attacks against her.
LP, netizens slammed Duterte’s attacks
The Liberal Party (LP) and many netizens defended De Lima from Duterte’s accusations. De Lima’s allies and supporters urged the President to focus on dealing with the issue at hand and not on personal matters like adultery.
Duterte said that he has evidence against De Lima
During a recent interview in Cotabato City, the President said that he actually had evidence against De Lima. However, PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said in an earlier interview that the police had not yet started gathering evidence against De Lima.
One thing is for sure: the entire Filipino people will suffer if the war between Duterte vs De Lima gets even uglier. – Kami Media
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Kami.com.ph, its editors, or other contributors.