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Roque: I will not dignify De Lima rants

Roque advised de Lima to "focus her time, energy and resources on her defense and in clearing her name before the court of law" after she called him a "truth bender for hire."

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque Friday advised Sen. Leila de Lima to just focus on the drug-related charges against her after she called him a “truth bender for hire.”

De Lima, who is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame for drug trafficking, has accused Roque of being a “political manipulator” and “propaganda artist” of President Duterte.

The neophyte senator also called Roque a “great disappointment to the human rights movement” for saying “things that no true human rights advocate would make about another person.”

De Lima was alluding to criticisms that Roque asked “indecent” questions about her love life during a congressional probe on the narcotics trade in the National Bilibid Prisons in 2016. Roque, a human rights lawyer, joined the probe as a nominee of the Kabayan party-list at the House of Representatives.

Roque said he would not dignify de Lima’s tirades but advised her to just use her time to clear her name.

“We do not wish to dignify the rants of someone accused of a heinous crime involving drug trafficking. We hope Senator Leila de Lima would just focus her time, energy and resources on her defense and in clearing her name before the court of law instead of engaging in partisan politics,” the presidential spokesman said.

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“After all, she is facing an uphill battle,” he added.

Roque’s manner of questioning during the congressional probe prompted his former colleagues in the Kabayan party-list to investigate him and to expel him from the group.

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