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Gabriela: ‘Frailty of a woman’ never an excuse to crimes

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 — Women’s rights group Gabriela on Tuesday reacted to Sen. Leila De Lima’s statement saying she fell for her former driver, Ronnie Dayan, due to the “frailties of a woman.”

In a statement, Gabriela said the so-called frailties of women even men or any gender can never be cited as a defense for crimes, be it adultery, abuse of authority by a public official or drug trafficking.

“It should not be used—especially by one who holds position of power like Senator Leila de Lima—as an excuse from criminal accountability or to paint herself as a victim,” Gabriela said.

Gabriela’s statement was released after De Lima admitted she had an affair with Dayan, who is a married man. President Rodrigo Duterte last July branded De Lima as an immoral woman for having an affair with her driver.

De Lima for her part, however, defended herself from the accusations saying she cannot allow her personal life to affect her work in public service.

“My track record as a public official, first as Commission on Human Rights chair and next as secretary of justice, speaks for itself. My record and my reputation have been untarnished until now because of all these unjust, unfair and false allegations and fabricated lies against my alleged involvement in the drug trade. I have made my peace with my past and my family. I don't know if my primary attacker can say the same,” De Lima said in a statement, adding that her mission is to stop the extrajudicial killings and summary executions happening in our country, as well as to address other social issues.

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“I am even more determined in pursuing this goal despite the danger to my life and reputation," the senator added.

De Lima then asked for privacy amid the controversy she is facing.

"I have already said my piece and I would not want to add anything more other than what I have repeatedly said in the past interviews. I do hope that you will respect my right to privacy over my personal life and not impute any more malice,” she said.

The senator said she learned from her past relationship which made her wiser. She added that she will instead use her pain to focus on the good she can do.

RELATED: De Lima admits affair with driver, denies other allegations

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