Duterte to De Lima: Resign, hang yourself

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - If I were De Lima, I’d hang myself.

As she faces allegations of immorality and protecting drug lords operating from the national penitentiary, President Duterte has advised Sen. Leila de Lima to resign and hang herself.

Duterte yesterday told De Lima to resign, a day after Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Malacañang is leaving it up to the Senate to decide on what to do with the senator.

“If I were De Lima, ladies and gentlemen, I’d hang myself,” Duterte said during a hospital visit to a wounded policeman yesterday in Tacloban City.

“Your life is, not just your life, your innermost core as a female is being serialized everyday. You should resign,” he added.

De Lima, however, said she has no intention of resigning as demanded by the President because doing so would be an admission of guilt.

In a chance interview with reporters at the Senate yesterday, De Lima admitted that the thought of resigning crossed her mind after what she has gone through with the President.

“Now the call for resignation, this has crossed my mind if only to make them stop and give me some peace… but after much reflection and let me repeat, resignation at this point will be an admission of guilt and a sign of weakness and I’m neither weak nor guilty,” she said.

Duterte said De Lima had lost face because of the exposés about her alleged involvement in illegal drugs.

“What face will you show women? Follow me, you will say? This is how to be a woman of the world. That would be hard to do,” the President said.  

De Lima was included in the matrix of officials with alleged drug links that was presented by Duterte to the media last week.

Also in the matrix were former Pangasinan governor and now 5th District Rep. Amado Espino Jr., suspended provincial administrator Rafael Baraan, his brother former justice undersecretary Francis Baraan, Urbiztondo, Pangasinan Mayor Raul Sison, former Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Bucayu and De Lima’s former driver and alleged lover Ronnie Dayan.

Duterte claimed that Dayan was De Lima’s connection to the drug lords at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City. He also alleged that Dayan had collected drug money to support De Lima’s senatorial campaign.

Duterte also accused De Lima of “immorality” for supposedly having an affair with her married driver. He said the senator’s “sexual escapades” had compelled her to violate laws and provide special privileges to some inmates.

De Lima was justice secretary during the previous administration. The Bureau of Corrections, which runs the NBP, is under the justice department.

The senator dismissed Duterte’s accusations as mere “character assassination,” even claiming that the President would lose face for making false claims.

De Lima, who has vowed to probe the spate of killings of suspected drug pushers, also described Duterte’s drug matrix as “garbage.”

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said that at least six witnesses are willing to support Duterte’s accusations against De Lima and other officials in the matrix.

Duterte admitted that he was angered by De Lima’s attempts to link him to the Davao Death Squad (DDS), a vigilante group tagged in the killing of criminals in the city where he served as mayor for 23 years.

“She said ‘I will prove that Duterte is the leader of the DDS.” I said what is DDS? Davao Development System,” the President said.

“Why do you have to interpret it the wrong way? Who wants to kill his fellowman? You think it’s very easy to kill a fellow human being? You build a nation over the bones of your countrymen?”

Duterte insisted that he is tough on drugs because he has “to save this generation.”

“Otherwise, our society would be compromised tomorrow,” he said.

The President has accused more than 160 incumbent and former local executives and uniformed personnel of being involved in the narcotics trade.

Ever since she initiated a probe into the alleged extrajudicial and summary killings of suspected drug pushers, De Lima has been the subject of vicious attacks from the President, who accused her of benefitting from the illegal drug trade.

In his recent pronouncements against De Lima, the President said that she was once again engaged in a romantic relationship with her motorcycle escort, whom he identified only as a certain Warren.

The allies of the President in the House of Representatives have also initiated a probe into the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the NBP during the previous administration.

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