By Jelly F. Musico
MANILA (PNA) – President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday there is enough evidence to send Senator Leila de Lima to jail over her alleged involvement in narco-politics in the country.
”She screwed her driver, she screwed the nation. Ngayon na naiipit siya, idinadamay niya ako. (Now that she is getting cornered, she is implicating me.) She will really go to jail. I’m sure of that because of testimonial evidence,” President Duterte said in his speech during the oathtaking rites of officers of the Malacañang Press Corps.
Recently, high-profile prisoners of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) appeared in a House of Representatives inquiry, claiming that de Lima received millions of campaign funds from drug lords led by Jayvee Sebastian detained inside the national penitentiary.
”So on national scale, who brought in the narco-politics? It is here already. You elected a senator who was into narco-politics, who was being financed from the convicts inside the prison, financing his candidacy of a senator and winning. What do you call that?” Duterte asked.
Duterte downplayed de Lima’s claim that he was imposing restrictions when he invited the United Nations (UN) special rapporteur Agnes Callamard and other countries including the United States and European Union to investigate the so-called extrajudicial killings and alleged human rights violations in his war on drugs.
”The censorship that de Lima mentioned. What I’m saying, I will submit to all forums in this planet, but she (UN rapporteur) cannot come here just ready to read garbage prepared by my political opponents,” Duterte said.
The President said he is proposing an open investigation where every concerned group could ask questions and be ready to be examined by him.
”What I want is investigate me, but let us follow the Philippines’ jurisdictional requirement. My proposal is let us have an open investigation. All of you, join us. That will be the time you can ask question. And I will answer, then I will ask you questions,” the President said.
”It cannot be just a one-way traffic here. Even if I am a President of a small republic, I will see to it that in matters of principle, we are in parity,” he added.
The President said he will also ask de Lima about her four-hour meeting with Sebastian inside a ‘kubol’ (special room) inside the NBP.
”Why would you have an asset such as Jayvee Sebastian? Do you not trust the NBI, the military men to have your own asset? What was that asset? Was it a sexual asset or a source of information? And why you have to do it at four hours?” the President said.
President Duterte, a former prosecutor before he became Davao City mayor for 23 years, said the inmates’ accusations are serious and de Lima “should not adopt a nonchalant attitude about all of these things”.
”She’s the one who should be worried. She opened the portals of narco-politics to take hold in the national level. There will never be an honest election. You can read the cartel, it’s online, you can buy it,” the President said.
He said de Lima, as a former Commission on Human Rights chairperson and justice secretary, and the UN rapporteur investigated him about extrajudicial killings when he was still mayor of Davao City but no report was given to him.
The President denied de Lima’s accusation that he is out to destroy the reputation of the lady senator.
”She was the one who started it. The ambition was good but her sexuality put her down. Now when the video came out, she’s finished,” Duterte said, referring to the alleged sex video of de Lima and her lover.