- Senator Leila De Lima has expressed strong reactions towards what she claims to be a violation of her right to privacy and security in a press briefing on Thursday, September 22
- According to the senator she had to move to a new house for fear of her safety, following the full disclosure of her personal details during the hearing at the House of Representatives
- House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez expressed his concerns towards the senator's plight, but claimed that it had to be done to win the war against drugs
“I have to temporarily leave my house and I am now in a temporary place of abode,” says Senator Leila de Lima on Thursday, September 22, during a press conference at Kamuning Bakery Cafe in Quezon City.
According to the senator, she has been receiving non-stop calls and text messages on the number after it was irresponsibly publicized by the House of Representatives.
The senator laments about being cowed to move to a new house after receiving numerous threats on her safety amid allegations of involvement in illegal drug trade inside the national penitentiary.
In one of the text messages that she read out during the press conference, the basher said, "Hoy, de Limaw! (As in halimaw siguro 'to) kelan ka magbabaril sa ulo mo? Kahit katiting, wala ka na bang konsensya at kahihiyan? Buking na buking ka na! Kaya, kung kami sa'yo, magsabi ka na lang ng totoo, at baka sakaling bumaba pa 'yung kasong kakaharapin mo. Matanda ka! Matanda ka na! Konti na lang buhay mo sa mundo. Hindi ka ba natatakot mamatay na makasalanan? Pwera lang kung pati sa impyerno gusto mo mapunta."
(Hey, de-Limaw (a portmanteau of the senator's last name and monster in the Filipino language) when will you shoot yourself in the head? Don't you have even a little conscience and shame? You've been exposed! if we were you, just tell the truth, and it might even help lower those charges that you would be facing. You're old! You're already old! You only have a little time left. Aren't you afraid of dying as a sinner? That is, you want to be in hell, too.)
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“Hindi lang ako ang apektado and because I live in a subdivision, kahit may guards, apektado ‘yung subdivision. They're now taking extra security steps, extra security measures. Added burden sa subdivision na nadadamay lang sila because of me (I'm not the only one affected and because I live in a subdivision, the whole subdivision is affected. They’re now taking extra security steps, extra security measures. It's an added burden for the subdivision that they are being dragged into this because of me),” she added.
The senator and former Justice Secretary questioned the ability of local law enforcement authorities to guarantee her safety. In her statement, she also said that she is considering filing cases against her critics for the violation of her rights to privacy and security.
“Can I rely on regular authorities in government? Can I rely now on the PNP for my security? Can I rely now on [the] NBI for my security? I’m referring to them as institutions. Can I rely on the AFP as an institution? Alam ninyo na po siguro ang sagot dyan (You probably already know the answer to that),” says De Lima.
“I’m mulling over several actions, including [filing a] writ of amparo, habeas data. I’m a subject of persecution and I’m no longer safe, I don’t feel safe. The truth is I’m not safe,” she explained.
De Lima added that she is considering asking the Senate leadership for additional security. She also rejected calls for resignation.
She said, "Should I? Ako ang ginigipit nila sa mga walang katuturan na mga akusasyon nila and then ako magreresign? I don't want to speak further, baka ano pa masabi ko at lalong magagalit ang mga 'yan. (I don't want to speak further, I might say things which will make them even angrier.)"
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez empathized with De Lima's situation, following the latter's announcement about receiving incessant messages and calls, but stressed that his main job is to help Duterte eradicate the illegal drug problem in the country.
"It pains to know when a colleague in government service [is] in trouble, but we have to stop this drug menace for the future of our next generation. My mission is to help President Duterte win our war against illegal drugs and criminalities, regardless who gets hurt in the process. Para ito sa bayan (This is for the country)," said Alvarez.