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'Absolute lie,' says De Lima on drug links

Former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila De Lima strokes her hair as she reads her statement Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, at the Philippine Senate in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. President Rodrigo Duterte, in a news conference Wednesday, linked De Lima to the illegal drug trade and called her "immoral woman." De Lima, for her part said, President Duterte, who also criticized the United Nations for condemning the spate of killings of suspected drug criminals in the country is "abusing and misusing his executive power." AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila de Lima on Friday addressed anew the accusations of President Rodrigo Duterte that she coddles drug lords or convicts, saying these are "completely false."

Earlier this week, Duterte lambasted De Lima for allegedly receiving drug money for her campaign to become senator.

The president also called the neophyte senator an "immoral woman" for having an illicit affair with her married driver.

READ: Duterte lambasts female senator for criticizing war on drugs | De Lima cries foul over 'character assassination'

"Pero ilang beses ko na po 'yan dineny. So I'm denying it again, that's an absolute lie. That's completely false," De Lima told television reporters.

She also said Duterte's statements only contain "snippets of truth" but most are exaggerations and lies.

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De Lima added that she would never protect drug lords because she would never betray her oath as a public servant.

"I don't intend to betray my oath as a public servant lalo na na may mandato ako ngayon sa taong bayan. So that's what I can tell you right now," De Lima said.

Meanwhile, Duterte said that De Lima created the "scandal" that may affect her loved ones.

"Family?... She created the scandal. She knows that she is a public official. Nag-iskandalo na siya d'yan sa (Commission on) Human Rights, nag-iskandalo na siya d'yan sa Department of Justice. Ano'ng spare the family?" Duterte told reporters in an ambush interview at Camp Siongco in Maguindanao.

The verbal spat between Duterte and De Lima started when the senator initiated a Senate inquiry on the rising number of drug-related killings in the country.

Duterte called out De Lima for criticizing his anti-drug campaign and resorted to a "character assassination" against the senator.

READ: Unrepentant Duterte says De Lima 'created the scandal'

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