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De Lima cries foul over public disclosure of mobile number, home address

Sen. Leila De Lima on Tuesday expressed disapproval over the permission to publicly disclose her mobile number and home address during the House Committee on Justice probe into alleged illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City. Senate PRIB/Cesar Tomambo

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila De Lima on Tuesday expressed disapproval over the permission to publicly disclose her mobile number and home address during the House Committee on Justice probe into the alleged illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.

De Lima, a former Justice secretary and tagged as one of the facilitators of the illegal drug trade and contrabands at the national penitentiary, lamented that her right to privacy was stripped off after her personal details were disclosed. She cited that on Tuesday evening she received about 2,000 text messages and phone calls from unknown persons containing threats, harassment and name calling.

“I condemn and vehemently protest the sheer indecency and foulness of allowing my cell phone number and home address to be publicly disclosed. They have victimized me over and over again, and just when I thought I could not feel more betrayed, they have once again proven that I have underestimated their audacity and evilness,” De Lima said in a statement.

“They have basically destroyed my right to privacy and security in my communications and in my abode. I am now literally a persecuted person displaced from my home. Worse, they have turned people into weapons of destruction,” she added.

De Lima's number was brought up before the House probe after witness inmate Herbert Colanggo told members of the House justice committee about the cellphone number that De Lima allegedly used to contact him through her bodyguard Jonel Sanchez.The number was contacted by Cebu Rep.Gwendolyn Garcia and she claimed that it matched De Lima's number saved in her mobile phone's contact list.

De Lima described the inquiry as a “blatant exercise in harassment and prosecution.” She said she has no adequate words to express her dismay about the lack of foresight and utter lack of sheer humanity displayed during the hearing.

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Meanwhile, in her statement, De Lima slammed Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano’s former statement anew saying we should not compare ourselves to other countries since we alone are shaming ourselves. She also said that despite the tirades against her, the real victims are all the oppressed.

“This is the country that we live in today. We shame ourselves before our countrymen and the world that we dare compare ourselves to Singapore in terms of making people feel safe,” De Lima said.

“What the people have to realize is that this is not just an offense against me, but against everyone. They are making me into an example of what will happen to those who dare criticize and call out the abuses of those in power. Who would dare stand up for others now? The real victim here is the people, the oppressed,” she concluded.

On Monday, Cayetano likened the Philippines to Singapore in terms of public’s security and safety.

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