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Duterte names De Lima as target of 'immoral woman' tirade

President Rodrigo Duterte shakes hands with Sen. Leila de Lima before delivering his 1st State of the Nation Address on July 25. PPD/King Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines – After initially refusing to name a senator who he said has been continuously criticizing him over his bloody campaign against illegal drugs, President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed that he was referring to Sen. Leila de Lima, who he said linked him to the vigilante group in Mindanao.

In a press conference at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, Duterte said he has De Lima on tape saying she would prove that he was connected to the so-called Davao Death Squad, which has been blamed for extrajudicial killings in Davao City and which the Commission on Human Rights and Justice department have investigated.

Groups like Human Rights Watch have also written about the death squad, which, it said, inspired a similar squad in Tagum City in Davao del Norte .

The agitated Duterte said that until now he is waiting for De Lima to prove her accusations. "Hanggang ngayon naghihintay ako. I kept quiet because you are a lady,” Duterte said .

De Lima has said that she is supportive of the war against drugs as long as due process is followed and human rights are respected. Last Monday, de Lima wrote a letter asking Duterte to monitor the Senate hearings on the killing of suspected drug personalities.

READ: Duterte lambasts lady senator for criticizing war on drugs

The president earlier mentioned during the 115th anniversary of Philippine National Police that a senator claimed that she has the evidence that Duterte is behind the killing activities of DDS.

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“She said ‘I will prove that Duterte is connected to DDS,’ but until now she keeps on yakking and she has forgotten about the tape i have recorded,” Duterte said.

He also alleged that the unnamed senator was having an affair with her driver,  whom Duterte said collected drug money during the campaign.

“Here is an immoral woman, flaunting well of course in so far as wife of the driver was concerned, it’s adultery. Here is a woman who funded the house of her lover and yet we do not see any complaint about it,” he added.
 
Duterte also hinted that the senator, whom he said is fond of political posturing, received drug money.   “Those money came readily from drugs. The intercept between Muntinlupa and the driver were far beyond making sure that somebody was involved,” he said.
 
“But, in fairness, I would never state here that the driver gave the money to her but by the looks of it, she has it…You are politicking and posturing when you yourself have a very sordid personal unofficial life.”

READ: De Lima cries foul over 'character assassination'

De Lima decries character assassination

De Lima, meanwhile, cried foul over the “character assassination” even before Duterte dropped her name.

The first-term senator, a former Justice secretary and former chair of the Commission on Human Rights, said that the president should not have resorted to "foul means."

"I don't know kung anong agenda nila na they're resorting to character assassination. That is a very clear case of character assassination and I did not expect the president to do that, sa totoo lang."

Duterte’s revelation came five days after he vowed to “destroy” a female official who keeps on criticizing his campaign against drugs. The president issued the threat in a late night press conference in Davao City.

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