De Lima to Duterte: I can’t fight you

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila De Lima on Thursday said despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s attack against her she would not fight the chief  executive as she is only a senator.

De Lima who faced the media admitted she was unable to sleep due to the issues she is facing. She cried foul against the allegations, saying the president’s act “is no less than abuse and misuse of the executive power.”

She, however, said she would not fight the president and instead called for due process.

“Hindi po ako lalaban. Hindi ko po kaya labanan ang pangulo. Unang una, hindi ko nga po alam ang kasalanan ko sa kanya,” the senator said in a televised press briefing.

"How does one defend oneself, when the attacker is immune from suit and has all the backing of executive power to support him in his personal attack? This is no less than abuse and misuse of executive power. I don't think the Constitution has ever contemplated such abuse of power on such scale, as it assumes every president to conduct himself in a manner befitting the office he holds,” she said.

De Lima divulged that she thought of stopping the Senate probe into the extrajudicial killings and summary executions, which is being blamed on the president’s war on drugs, to stop the personal attacks against her. However, she stressed that she will not back down as Senator, will continue to fulfill her duties and launch a fair probe against the drug killings.

“Your Excellency, naisip ko na rin po na itigil na ang imbestigasyon sa mga summary executions kung iyon ang gusto ninyo para lamang matigil ang mga personal na atake sa akin… Pero kapag ginawa ko po ito ay parang tinalikuran ko na rin ang sarili kong pagkatao, at itinatwa ang sarili kong mga paninindigan at paniniwala,” De Lima said.

“Mas nanaisin ko na kayo at inyong gobyerno ang magbaon sa akin kaysa ako ang magbaon sa aking sarili,” she added.

De Lima to face possible cases

The senator said she has been receiving information and threats that there would be modified evidence to come out against her if she pursues the fight against summary executions. De Lima said she is ready to face these allegations but asked Duterte to spare her colleagues, friends and family from his attacks.

“Tama na po ang pananakot at panghihiya. Bumalik na po tayo sa kaayusan na dulot ng pag-iiral ng batas at simpleng respeto sa kapwa tao.

“I have always been loyal to my oath as a public servant. I am not the enemy here. Stop portraying me as one,” she concluded.

An emotional De Lima refused to answer any questions from the media saying she is “hurting a lot.” She confessed she thought of not facing the media due to the criticisms but knows that she must address these eventually.

“Ano pa kaya ang mas lalala sa mga ginagawa nila sakin ngayon? Sinisira nila ang aking dangal. Nilalapastangan nila ang aking pagkababae mayroon pa kayang lalala diyan?” the senator asked.

RELATED: Leila cries foul; Senate probe on killings to continue | LP stands by De Lima amid Duterte's tirades

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