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DOJ INDICTS DE LIMA FOR OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
[RELATED: NBI files drug complaint vs. De Lima]


DECEMBER 22 -In this Sept. 7, 2016 photo, Sen. Leila de Lima gestures during an interview in Pasay City. AP/Aaron Favila, file
The Department of Justice on Wednesday indicted Sen. Leila De Lima for her disobedience to the summons issued by the House of Representatives, its committee and subcommittees. The DOJ found probable cause in the criminal complaint of House of Representatives leaders and recommended the charging De Lima for obstruction of justice. It said that her advice to former bodyguard and driver Ronnie Dayan through his daughter to hide and to not appear at a House probe on the illegal drug trade induced his disobedience to summons. “Based on the foregoing, we find probable cause to charge the respondent of violation of Article 150 of the Revised Penal Code,” the resolution dated December 15 read. READ MORE...RELATED,
NBI files drug complaint vs. De Lima...

ALSO: De Lima returns from abroad, says Duterte is the real addict
[RELATED The Fighter: How Leila de Lima Ended Up Leading the Opposition to Rodrigo Duterte’s Drug War]


DECEMBER 22 -Sen. Leila De Lima arrives at the NAIA from the US and Germany on Tuesday night. Rudy Santos
Embattled Sen. Leila de Lima is back in the country after receiving an award abroad amid President Duterte’s allegation that she benefited from the illegal drug trade when she was justice secretary. “I am back safe and sound. I am here to belie speculations of people who are trying to demolish me. I am here to face all their concocted accusations in due time in the proper venue,” De Lima told reporters upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 late Tuesday night from her trip to the United States and Germany. De Lima was happy when greeted by journalists upon her return. When asked if she is willing to reconcile with her former driver and lover Ronnie Dayan who testified against her in the congressional inquiry, De Lima said, “I have forgiven him, but I have no way to see him.” “I have already moved on. I have my life to live and duty to fulfill, but it’s my moral obligation to help him whenever I can,” she added. READ MORE...RELATED,
The Fighter: How Leila de Lima Ended Up Leading the Opposition to Rodrigo Duterte’s Drug War...

ALSO: Poe assured De Lima of fair ethics probe but..; De Lima is expected to return to the country this week
[De Lima hits ‘public figures’ who believe she was in drugs]


DECEMBER 21 -Sen. Grace Poe is a member of the ethics panel which will handle the probe on the complaints filed against De Lima, including the alleged obstruction in the House inquiry into the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). Senate PRIB/Albert Calvelo
Sen. Grace Poe yesterday assured Sen. Leila De Lima of a fair probe by the Senate ethics committee, provided the senator would explain why the illegal drug problem apparently flourished during her term as secretary of justice. Poe is a member of the ethics panel which will handle the probe on the complaints filed against De Lima, including the alleged obstruction in the House inquiry into the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). She said the rift between De Lima and President Duterte should not always be blamed on politics and the senator must explain why she was being tagged in the NBP illegal drug trade. “Sen. De Lima was justice secretary in the past administration when all these things flourished in the Bilibid and anywhere else,” Poe told ANC. READ MORE...RELATED, De Lima hits ‘public figures’ who believe she was in drugs...

ALSO: De Lima says blaming her for proliferation of drug trade won't solve PHL drug problem
[RELATED: House files 3rd case vs De Lima in Senate]
[RELATED(2): Fentanyl has driven Duterte to 'madness' – De Lima]


DECEMBER 21 -Sen. Leila de Lima on Wednesday said pinning the blame on her over the proliferation of drug trade during her stint as Justice secretary will not solve the problem.
In a statement, De Lima said such mindset is a "fantasy that the Duterte administration has been weaving," adding that it is frightening that "high-ranking public figures" seem to believe it. She said the proliferation of illegal drugs in the Philippines is a systemic problem that "will not be solved by forming a lynch mob to gang up on a scapegoat." "It's saddening and frightening that even high-ranking public figures have swallowed hook, line and sinker the fantasy that the Duterte administration has been weaving: that a single person was single-handedly responsible for the proliferation of drugs in our country, and that it took place only over the course of my term as Secretary of Justice," she said. READ MORE...RELATED, House files 3rd case vs De Lima in Senate ...RELATED, De Lima’s disobedience case ‘easiest to file’ - Aguirre
RELATED(2): Fentanyl has driven Duterte to 'madness' – De Lima...

ALSO: De Lima to Cabinet: Save nation from a madman
[RELATED: Duterte Says His Admission of Opioid Abuse Was a Joke but Concerns Remain]


DECEMBER 24 -Sen. Leila De lima INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ
Save the nation from a “madman.” Sen. Leila de Lima on Friday called on the Cabinet to declare President Duterte “unfit” to serve, citing his recent tirades against the United Nations high commissioner for human rights and the Anti-Money Laundering Council. In a statement, De Lima, one of the President’s fiercest critics, again made reference to Mr. Duterte’s use of the powerful painkiller fentanyl, saying it has compromised how his mind works. “We have to understand by now that all the President’s statements are fentanyl-induced. He can no longer be considered to be in a normal state of mind,” said De Lima. “How else can one explain all of these outrageous statements about the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) executives and the UN human rights commissioner who are the most professional people in their respective lines of work?” she said. “The Cabinet should seriously consider declaring him unfit to perform the duties of the President and relay such opinion to Congress, in order to save this nation once and for all from the ramblings of a madman,” she said. READ MORE...RELATED,
 Duterte Says His Admission of Opioid Abuse Was a Joke but Concerns Remain...

 
ALSO: SolGen dares De Lima on Bar exam results: Lower score quits
{Aside from saying that Solgen has an empty skull, De Lima called Calida a “sycophant” after he labeled her as “Public Enemy Number 1”)
[RELATED: Calida flaunts bar exam score to challenge De Lima]
(Calida, who graduated at the Ateneo de Manila University Law School, scored 100 percent in criminal law in the 1973 bar exams. De Lima, on the other hand, is 8th placer in the 1985 bar exams.)


DECEMBER 22 -Solicitor General Jose Calida. INQUIRER.net SCREENGRAB
For saying he has an “empty skull,” Solicitor-General Jose Calida on Wednesday dared Senator Leila De Lima to show her Bar examination score in Criminal Law and whoever has the lower score should resign. “I hereby put a challenge to De Lima. She accused me that I have an empty skull. She was former Secretary of Justice, I challenge her to reveal her grade in Criminal Law during the Bar exams,” Calida said. “If her grade is higher than mine, then I will resign as Solicitor-General. But if my grade is higher than hers, she should resign as senator of the Philippines,” Calida added. Aside from saying that he has an empty skull, De Lima called Calida a “sycophant” after he labeled her as “Public Enemy Number 1” for deploring the unabated extrajudicial killings (EJKs) of suspected drug dealers and users. READ MORE...RELATED, Calida flaunts bar exam score to challenge De Lima...


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DOJ indicts De Lima for obstruction of justice


In this Sept. 7, 2016 photo, Sen. Leila de Lima gestures during an interview in Pasay City. AP/Aaron Favila, file
 

MANILA, DECEMBER 26, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Rosette Adel December 21, 2016 - The Department of Justice on Wednesday indicted Sen. Leila De Lima for her disobedience to the summons issued by the House of Representatives, its committee and subcommittees.

The DOJ found probable cause in the criminal complaint of House of Representatives leaders and recommended the charging De Lima for obstruction of justice.

It said that her advice to former bodyguard and driver Ronnie Dayan through his daughter to hide and to not appear at a House probe on the illegal drug trade induced his disobedience to summons.

“Based on the foregoing, we find probable cause to charge the respondent of violation of Article 150 of the Revised Penal Code,” the resolution dated December 15 read.

READ MORE...

“Wherefore it is respectfully recommended that this resolution be approved and the corresponding information be filed before the court,” it stated.

TWEETS:Follow Edu Punay @edupunay
DOJ finds probable cause in complaint for violation of Art.150 of RPC filed by House leaders @PhilippineStar 9:48 PM - 20 Dec 2016

Retweets likes De Lima’s indictment came eight days after House leaders, including House Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez, House Committee on Justice chair Rep. Reynaldo Umali and House majority Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas filed a criminal complaint against the senator. It was however filed on December 15.

The information, or formal complaint, for Obstruction of Justice against De Lima was filed before the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court by Officer-in-Charge Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan.

Follow Edu Punay @edupunay

Case vs De Lima filed before Quezon City RTC only 8 days after House filed complaint @PhilippineStar 9:51 PM - 20 Dec 2016 1 1

Retweet likes There is no bail required in De Lima’s case since it only involves a light offense. Because of the nature of the offense, authorities are not expected to serve a warrant against her.

Follow Edu Punay @edupunay

No bail required in this case vs De Lima because it involves light offense @PhilippineStar 10:02 PM - 20 Dec 2016 Retweets likes

If found guilty, De Lima can be imprisoned for from a month and a day to six monthd and fined from P200 to P1,000. — With reports from The STAR/Edu Punay

READ: House leaders file new criminal complaint vs Leila

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RELATED FROM CNN PHILIPPINES

NBI files drug complaint vs. De Lima By Anjo Alimario, CNN Philippines Updated 22:04 PM PHT Thu, November 10, 2016


SCREENGRAB -One of the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison is that Senator Leila De Lima "brought about, supported, and even promoted the proliferation of illegal drugs for her political ambition."

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — One of the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison is that Senator Leila De Lima "brought about, supported, and even promoted the proliferation of illegal drugs for her political ambition."

De Lima is facing a new string of charges, including drug trafficking, qualified bribery, and graft, among others. This is the fourth criminal complaint against her filed before the DOJ.

Related: Alleged drug lord Jaybee Sebastian files charges vs. De Lima before DOJ

Aside from the senator, 17 more respondents were named in the complaint, including former DOJ Undersecretary Francisco Baraan, and former Bureau of Corrections Heads Francis Bucayu and Rafael Ragos.

The investigators said these former officials received huge sums of money from inmates, either directly or through their conduits.

De Lima's former aide Joenel Sanchez and former driver and bodyguard Ronnie Dayan were also charged.

The NBI doubts the defense of De Lima, who pointed out that she led the Bilibid raid last December 2014. It said the raid was either a legitimate operation or it was staged to make it look like she did something to curb illegal drugs inside Bilibid.

Convicts Jaybee Sebastian, Herbert Colanggo, Vicente Sy, Peter Co, Jojo Baligad, and Engelbert Durano — who all testified in the probe — are also charged despite the immunity granted to them by the Lower House.

NBI Spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin said on Thursday the inmates' immunity only covers instances where they incriminate themselves. But there were also named by other inmates as being involved in the illegal drug trade inside the national penitentiary.

AIRTIGHT CASE

The NBI is confident they have an airtight case against De Lima.

"We have interlocking confessions. Sanga-sanga itong confession. Yung sinabi nung isa vinalidate nung isa [What is said by one is validated by another]. Corroborated nung isa. We believe we have a good case," Lavin said.

Related: Ex-NBI officials tag former Justice Secretary as 'Mother of all Drug Lords'

He clarified the investigation doesn't end with the filing of cases, especially when it comes to the money trail.

"Tuloy-tuloy itong imbestigasyon [The investigation will continue]. As a matter of fact we may be called during the preliminary investigation to further bolster our evidence," he said.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said the four complaints against De Lima will be consolidated for a single preliminary investigation.

"I hope to send the subpoena to the respondents by tomorrow, at the latest Monday," he said.

De Lima: They won't quit until they destroy me
The senator said she is no longer surprised whenever the Duterte administration files "trumped-up" charges against her.

"Like their propensity for manufacturing lies, the filing of charges is fast becoming a bad habit for them. They just won't quit until they destroy me," De Lima said in a statement on Thursday.

De Lima said the evidence, including testimonies against her, were all fabricated.

She continues to stand by her innocence — saying she has nothing to do with the drug trade inside the Bilibid.

"NBI has based its charges has shown nothing but fantastic lies and fairy tales linking me to the drug trade. I repeat that I stand by my innocence because I only speak the truth," she said. Anjo Alimario


PHILSTAR

De Lima returns, says Duterte is the real addict (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 22, 2016 - 12:00am 1 13 googleplus0 0


Sen. Leila De Lima arrives at the NAIA from the US and Germany on Tuesday night. Rudy Santos

MANILA, Philippines – Embattled Sen. Leila de Lima is back in the country after receiving an award abroad amid President Duterte’s allegation that she benefited from the illegal drug trade when she was justice secretary.

“I am back safe and sound. I am here to belie speculations of people who are trying to demolish me. I am here to face all their concocted accusations in due time in the proper venue,” De Lima told reporters upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 late Tuesday night from her trip to the United States and Germany.

De Lima was happy when greeted by journalists upon her return.

When asked if she is willing to reconcile with her former driver and lover Ronnie Dayan who testified against her in the congressional inquiry, De Lima said, “I have forgiven him, but I have no way to see him.”

“I have already moved on. I have my life to live and duty to fulfill, but it’s my moral obligation to help him whenever I can,” she added.

READ MORE...

De Lima was also asked about the state of her love life. Her reply: “I am happy being single right now. I will spend my Christmas with my family, my nephews and nieces.”

De Lima went to Washington last week to receive an award from a popular international political magazine. She was named as one of 100 Foreign Policy Global Thinkers.

She was awarded for standing up against Duterte’s bloody war on drugs marked by reports of summary killings and human rights violations. She was honored “for standing up to an extremist leader.”

Duterte has been accusing De Lima of receiving money from drug lords when she was the justice secretary and for turning the Philippines into a narco state.

‘Fentanyl damaged Duterte’s mind’

In another interview yesterday, De Lima got back at Duterte, saying if there is one drug addict that the government should go after in its war against drugs, it is the President.

Duterte earlier admitted that he had been taking Fentanyl to help him cope with the pain in his spine.

De Lima said Duterte is apparently suffering from the effects of prolonged drug use, particularly on his mind.

She denied anew the allegation that she received money from drug lords, saying that she has neither received money from any drug lord nor taken any illegal drug in her life.

“At least I, whom he recklessly and wrongly accuses as a narco-politician, haven’t taken a single addictive drug in my life, while he who runs amok and froths in the mouth like a rabid animal has the temerity to make up a list, when he should be on the top of that list,” she said.

“Duterte should stop taking Fentanyl because obviously it has already driven him to madness and to fits of paranoia, where everyone he sees is either a drug addict or a drug lord. This is already all so hilarious if not for its murderous effect, with the whole PNP and vigilante squads following his command to kill, kill, kill,” she added.

De Lima advised the President to stop abusing drugs so that he could “experience a lucid interval and discover how crazy this drug war witch-hunting has become.”

Duterte came up with a list of former and incumbent politicians, police officers and other personalities allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade. His narco list includes De Lima as the lone senator allegedly involved in illegal drugs.

But the President has admitted to making a mistake before with Pangasinan Rep. Amado Espino Jr., prompting De Lima to question the authenticity and accuracy of his drug list.

De Lima said Duterte must have been experiencing drug-induced hallucination when he came out with his narco lists.

“I’m almost sure that the new list of drug lords/protectors is again laden with errors, or one which did not undergo a thorough process of verification/validation as would negate any doubt as to its veracity,” she added.

De Lima laments colleagues’ doubts

De Lima also lamented that some of her colleagues are not convinced by her repeated denials on her alleged involvement in illegal drugs.

De Lima was commenting on calls by some of her fellow senators, the latest of whom was Sen. Grace Poe, for her to explain why illegal drugs apparently proliferated during her term as secretary of justice.

“It’s saddening and frightening that even high-ranking public figures have swallowed hook, line and sinker the fantasy that the Duterte administration has been weaving: that a single person was single-handedly responsible for the proliferation of drugs in our country, and that it took place only over the course of my term as secretary of justice,” she said in a statement.

“It is frightening because buying into that fallacy exposes us to the dangerously myopic oversimplification of the problem, which will prevent us from truly solving it because we can’t even admit that the problem is systemic,” she added.

She said the drug problem will “not be solved by forming a lynch mob to gang up on a scapegoat.” The drug menace will not be addressed by denying facts, including about the source of the drugs that flow into the country and complicity of law enforcers on the ground.

The senator said the same law enforcers who facilitate the entry of drugs are now given a license to kill and plant evidence on those killed. – Rudy Santos, Marvin Sy, Paolo Romero

--------------------------------

RELATED FROM TIME.COM

The Fighter: How Leila de Lima Ended Up Leading the Opposition to Rodrigo Duterte’s Drug War Nash Jenkins / Manila @pnashjenkins Dec. 15, 2016


Philippine Senator Leila de Lima, center, gestures along with Catholic faithful, as they offer prayers during a mass for all the victims of the Philippine drug war, at a church in Manila on Nov. 23, 2016 GETTY IMAGES

Senator Leila de Lima has put her career, reputation and personal safety on the line to fight President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.

Can she survive savage character assassination and brutal political and popular opposition in order to save the Philippines?

It’s Christmastime in the Philippines. As is the case with most former Spanish colonies, the country is thoroughly Catholic, and celebrates the holiday with an endearing earnestness. Green and red lights have hung along the boulevards of Manila since late September.

Above the front doors of the headquarters of the city’s police force, a string of off-white light has been twisted to spell the words “Peace on Earth.”

Traffic is even worse than usual, particularly on the highway that connects Ninoy Aquino International Airport with the city: many of the 10 million Filipinos forced to find work overseas — as maids, as waitresses, as fitness instructors — have come home for the holidays.

In the headquarters of the Senate of the Philippines, lawmakers have made a show of decorating the doorways to their offices.

The building itself is squat and brutalist, and the low ceilings and fluorescent lights of its hallways give off an unfortunate bureaucratic feel, but the decorations at least bring some color.

They’re mostly orthodox — ropes of garland; wreaths ensconcing nativity scenes — except for one threshold, which has instead been bordered with off-white tinsel and elegant gold baubles.


The Human Toll of the Philippine War on Drugs
In 51 drug busts conducted by Philippine police that involved shooting, nearly every suspect was killed.

This is the office of Senator Leila de Lima, and on the afternoon of Dec. 7, she is inside at her desk, exhausted but mostly unfazed. She is 57, with a neatly short haircut and a good taste in silk scarves. She wants you to know that this is a country at war. It’s hard to see it, because this is a war that happens only at night. Since President Rodrigo Duterte was elected in May, nearly 6,000 people have died in what has been called his “war on drugs,” an extrajudicial and largely arbitrary campaign to utterly expunge the Philippines’ addicts and dealers. The toll is now on par with that inflicted last year by Boko Haram in Nigeria.

“These are death squads,” de Lima says simply, referring to the vigilantes that gun down suspected drug users in the streets, or sometimes in their homes.

Outside of de Lima’s private office there is a bullpen-type operation where her staff — made up of young, enthusiastic types — buzzes about, but in here it’s quiet and sparse. She has her own nativity scene set up on a far table; on her desk, beneath the seal of the Philippine Senate, documents concerning the Senate’s own inquisition into her alleged corruption have been meticulously stacked. She pays them no mind.

De Lima, who previously served as the Philippines’ Secretary of Justice and chaired the country’s Commission on Human Rights, was elected to the Senate in May, on the same day that the 71-year-old Duterte won in a near landslide. Since taking office in June, she has committed herself to standing up to him and fighting the war on drugs in the country’s highest corridors of power. She is practically the only Philippine politician that does so.


Philippines Drug Crackdown Continues
Jes Aznar—Getty Images
Friends and family carry the coffin of Jerico Camitan in a public cemetery on Nov. 13, 2016, in the Philippine city of Caloocan. Camitan, 21, and his partner Erica Fernandez, 17, were killed by two gunmen. A placard saying that they were drug pushers was placed near their bodies, although a drug test during autopsy cleared them of any drug use. Police said that they are not on any drug watch-list.

Hers has been a grisly, largely futile battle. Duterte, who made his political name as the foul-mouthed mayor who cleaned up the southern city of Davao — once the country’s murder capital — is wildly popular in the Philippines. (At last polling, his approval rating stood at 76%.) Global historians will remember this decade as the epoch that gave political legitimacy to contrarianism: Duterte, like Donald Trump in the U.S., appealed to voters because he was a walking refutation of an establishment they were disillusioned with, promising to restore order to the streets and luster to the national image.

His popularity extends to the country’s legislature, where a rabid coalition of lawmakers has set out to impede de Lima’s pursuit of justice and tarnish her image in the process. In September, she was ousted as the chairwoman of the Senate’s Justice and Human Rights Committee, which, under her, had been tenaciously investigating the drug war’s extrajudicial killings. Weeks earlier, Duterte himself publicly accused de Lima of covertly benefiting from a drug operation inside a Manila prison, and of having a sordid love affair with her driver, whom Duterte said had acted as her accomplice. He also crowed that he had a sex tape of the two of them that made him “lose his appetite.” On Aug. 29, before a rally of his supporters, he encouraged de Lima to “hang herself.”

“All of this — the slut shaming, the threats — it’s unprecedented. No one has ever been subjected to this by a sitting President,” de Lima says. “And it’s all fabricated. They’re doing it to discredit me, to embarrass me, to humiliate me, to vilify me — really portray me as an immoral, bad woman so that people will not listen to me anymore.”

Except that people are listening, for better or for worse. In a country with a capacious media diet and an insatiable appetite for scandal, she is now one of the most notable and polarizing players in the drug war. A search for her name on Facebook on Dec. 13 revealed that nearly 100,000 different users were talking about her at that moment. She had just arrived in Washington, where Foreign Policy was celebrating her as one of the year’s top “Global Thinkers,” for “standing up to an extremist leader.” The same day, back home, Duterte’s allies in Congress had filed a criminal complaint against her for “disrespecting” the legislature.

“Delima and other oligarchs who want DUTERTE ousted we are watching you,” one Facebook user wrote. “You will not succeed whatever your EVIL plans are.”

More to lose

She will tell you that she never wanted this for herself. She’s talking about politics, and its attendant theatrics. But this is a country where the unlikeliest figures end up in positions of authority — Manny Pacquiao, the 37-year-old Filipino boxer who lost to Floyd Mayweather in a heavily watched fight in 2015, was the Senator who worked to remove de Lima from the drug-war investigation — so in any event she’s in good company.

“My father’s advice was to avoid joining politics if I could,” she says. “He said that my personality wasn’t suited for it — that I might just get hurt, because I don’t know how to play games.”

She idolized her father Vicente, a prominent lawyer who went on to lead the Philippines’ federal election-regulation commission. She was born in Iriga, a small city about 10 hours by car south of Manila, in August 1957. Like most of its neighbors in Southeast Asia, the Philippines was, at the time, a young country, fresh from the yoke of colonialism and vulnerable to flux. De Lima had just turned 8 when Ferdinand Marcos, a populist Senator and self-described war hero, was elected President in 1965, beginning a 20-year kleptocratic dictatorship that saw the imprisonment of tens of thousands of “dissidents,” the theft of up to $10 billion from the national coffers — a loss from which the impoverished nation has yet to recover — and the emergence of a national habit of extrajudicial killings. (Duterte has repeatedly praised Marcos and last month had him buried in Manila’s Heroes’ Cemetery.)

De Lima wasn’t particularly political in her youth, but she was an exemplary student, largely because her father (a “strict disciplinarian,” she says) would buy sets of encyclopedias and force her to pore over them. When she wasn’t in school, she tagged along with her father to court and worked as “sort of his unofficial clerk” at his office. By adolescence she was reading Supreme Court judgments for fun.

“I was bound to be a lawyer,” she says. “I had no other ambition in life, even as a child.”

She graduated from a local Catholic high school (as valedictorian, she’ll remind you), then the nationally prestigious De La Salle University in Manila, and went to law school at San Beda College, where Duterte had been a student just over a decade prior. (He happily claims to have shot a fellow student while he was there.) De Lima’s professors remember her as an aggressive, fiercely bright student. At San Beda, she fell in love and married a classmate, Plaridel Bohol.


People Power Revolution
Sadayuki Mikami—AP
People power: a large crowd outside Camp Crame in Manila on Feb. 24, 1986, cheers at a radio announcement that President Ferdinand Marcos has fled the country


This was the early 1980s. The country was on the precipice of seismic change. In 1983, two summers before De Lima graduated from San Beda, the prominent opposition leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. had been assassinated while disembarking from a commercial flight at Manila International Airport, triggering waves of political unrest and economic instability. Perhaps aptly, the biggest song in Manila those days was “More to Lose” by an otherwise unknown British New Wave duo called Seona Dancing, whose singer, the then 23-year-old Ricky Gervais, would go onto create and star in The Office.

De Lima was waiting for her bar exam results when the Marcos regime finally fell in February 1986. The People Power Revolution, as it was called, was peaceful — under U.S. pressure, Marcos went into exile following a democratic election — and instilled young Filipinos like de Lima with optimism for a liberal future. Corazon “Cory” Aquino, Benigno Aquino’s widow, became President and renamed Manila’s airport for her husband. De Lima got her bar-exam results back; she received the eighth-highest score in all of the Philippines.

She went to work for a prominent Supreme Court Justice, Isagani A. Cruz, but left in the early 1990s to pursue election law at the behest of several mentors. It was a relatively young practice — dictatorships tend to present few opportunities for election litigation — and thus small; de Lima was one of its only women.

“She was very, very good,” says Sixto Brillantes, who taught de Lima at San Beda and later practiced with her. “We were the elders in the practice, then she came in and made it difficult for us, because she spent all her time studying and researching the law — and taking all the clients!”

Over the course of a decade and a half, she took on a number of high-profile cases and clients, including several who have now deemed it politically expedient to attack her amid the ongoing smear campaign. She did this until May 2008, when she was contacted by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who asked her to chair the country’s Commission on Human Rights.

“It was quite an unexpected turn of events, and never part of my career path,” de Lima says. “I thought I would be an election lawyer for life. I wasn’t sure why [Arroyo] did it, but I took it as a challenge.”

The month before her appointment, Philip Alston, a human-rights official at the U.N., published a scathing 65-page report on the country’s apparent epidemic of extrajudicial killings. It mostly concerned the murder of activists, but one page was devoted to the southern city of Davao, describing “the shocking predictability with which criminals, gang members, and street children are extrajudicially executed” there.

“The mayor is an authoritarian populist who has held office, aside from a brief stint as a Congressman, since 1988,” the report read. “When we spoke, he insisted that he controls the army and the police, saying, ‘The buck stops here.’”

That mayor’s name was Rodrigo Duterte. De Lima had never heard of him, but quickly did her research. “He was a colorful figure — who was sort of different,” she says, a conscious understatement. During his tenure as mayor of Davao, Duterte had enforced his anticrime agenda in ways that bordered on pathological: he admits to personally killing suspected criminals; beating them; even threatening to strip speeding motorists naked and parade them through town. Davao’s tourism board called it “the most peaceful city in Southeast Asia.”

The reports of extrajudicial killings troubled de Lima, so she assembled a commission of five and spent several months traveling to and from Davao, about an 80-minute flight from Manila. They held public inquiry sessions in hotel function rooms where they questioned witnesses. At one, they subpoenaed Duterte himself.

“I chastised him publicly during that session, and he was rather meek,” de Lima says. “He did not react violently. He was just looking at me. I was the one raising my voice at him in front of those people.”

“He has not forgotten that,” she says. “He has not forgiven me.”


Justice Secretary Leila de Lima (R), the
AFP/Getty Images
Leila de Lima, right, as a freshly appointed Justice Secretary, chairs a hearing on Sept. 3, 2010, into the Manila hostage crisis that saw eight Hong Kong tourists killed

In 2010, de Lima’s tenacity earned the attention of President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the son of Ninoy and Cory, who invited her to his house and offered her the position of Secretary of Justice on the spot. It was a job that kept her busy: within two months of her taking office, a group of Hong Kong tourists in Manila were taken hostage on their tour bus by a disgruntled ex-cop, and eight of them were killed.

Many of the cases were sensitive, and Aquino asked de Lima if she had security detail. She had first enlisted Ronnie Dayan as her driver and bodyguard in 2007, when she was in private practice. At that point, she says, her marriage to Bohol had been over for six years. She found herself in Dayan’s company more often than not, and within months, she says, “things jut happened.”

“I just fell for him,” she laughs. “I trusted him. I loved him. Love is love.”

He ended up staying with her at her home in Manila during the workweek, which permitted discretion. The relationship, which would come back to haunt her, lasted seven years until 2014, at which point she broke it off, because he was “becoming rather big-headed. I just ran out of love.”

Meanwhile, President Aquino was encouraging her to run in the 2016 Senate elections. “I figured I could best advocate for my core issues — human rights and justice — through legislation,” she says. She was narrowly elected in May, but national attention was turned to a bigger contest — the presidential election, which in terms of discourse was being monopolized by Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte ran on his reputation as a vigilante mayor, pledging to kill “100,000 criminals” if he won. Crowds ate it up. The Western press wrung its hands over his crass comments about Pope Francis (whom Duterte called “a son of a whore”) and sexual violence (“I should have been first [to rape her],” he said of an Australian missionary, Jacqueline Hamill, who was gang-raped and killed during a 1989 prison riot in Davao), but voters didn’t care. The Philippines, they felt, was at its nadir. The country’s homicide rate was the highest in Asia in 2013; the trade and consumption of methamphetamine — shabu, in local parlance — was booming. As a result, the tourism industry, which employs 1 in 10 Filipinos and makes up 7.8% of the national gross domestic product, was suffering. Duterte, they believed, was going to fix this.

‘Leila is also a fighter. She always has been’

Duterte took office at the end of June; the killings began promptly. According to some estimates, 1,400 people were killed in the first three months. Prisons were past capacity; inmates literally slept on top of each other. De Lima knew this was coming. She took office on the same day as Duterte, and 13 days later she introduced a Senate resolution demanding an inquiry into the brutality. “Extrajudicial or summary killing is homicide,” she wrote plainly. “If left unabated and unchecked, [it] can escalate into a crime against humanity under international law.”

Duterte was quick to go on the defensive, and so were his many supporters, both on the streets and in Congress. On Aug. 17, the President came forward with a damning accusation: during her tenure as Justice Secretary, de Lima had allowed the drug trade at the New Bilibud Prison, a maximum-security facility in metropolitan Manila, to flourish in exchange for campaign donations. He also brought up Dayan.

“Her driver,” Duterte said, “was her lover. He was the one who was also collecting the [illegal] money for her during the campaign.”

“Love Affair Led to Corruption,” crowed one headline in the pro-Duterte Manila Times. In the comments section of the online article, one reader wrote, “Duterte, you are a breath of fresh air, in an otherwise stinking world of authority and corruption.”


Dayan takes an oath during a Congressional committee hearing in Quezon city
Czar Dance—Reuters
Ronnie Dayan, former aide and former lover of Senator Leila de Lima, takes an oath during a congressional committee hearing on the drug trade, inside the National Penitentiary, at the House of the Representatives in Manila on Nov. 24, 2016

“This is a total lie,” de Lima tells me. “Lightning can strike me right now if that is at all true. Not in any capacity was I a coddler, a protector, a beneficiary of the drug trade.”

Less than a month later, de Lima was ousted in the Senate as the chairperson of the committee investigating the drug war. Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who hails from an established political family and is widely seen as nebbish and opportunistic, stood up in the chamber and damned de Lima for “misleading” the international media. Cayetano had been Duterte’s running mate in the presidential election — in the Philippines, President and Vice President are elected separately; Cayetano finished third — but before that, he had been a legal client of de Lima’s when she was an election lawyer. He declined to be interviewed for this article.

In the months since, the Senate has devolved into a kangaroo court in its investigations into both the drug war and de Lima’s prison scandal. Her phone number and address have been provided to the public. Dayan, her partner of seven years, has begun testifying against her, which she says is a conspiracy. He told lawmakers that he collected money for de Lima from a drug dealer named Kerwin Espinosa, and on Dec. 6, during a session of the Senate, de Lima confronted him.

“I forgive you,” she said. “You are being used to destroy me and I will know in due time who they are.” One week later, a group of Congressmen filed a criminal complaint against her, for “disrespecting” the House of Representatives.

Brillantes, the former election official who taught both de Lima and Duterte and remains close to them both, has attempted to forge a détente, to little avail. “I’ve talked to the President — he’s not going to back down,” he says. “It will be very difficult for Leila, because the President is very reckless.”

Then: “But Leila is also a fighter. She always has been.”

De Lima now suspects the demise of her political career, or worse, could be imminent. “The idea of being locked in jail is not far-fetched, especially since the President himself has repeatedly said it,” she says. “And I’ve always been concerned about my safety, but it’s being intensified — we feel we’re being monitored.”

She is somewhat philosophical about all of this. “To be honest, sometimes I think I shouldn’t have run, because I would have been spared all this,” she says. “But if I wasn’t elected, who would be fighting the President


Poe assured De Lima of fair ethics probe; De Lima is expected to return to the country this week  By Paolo Romero and Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 21, 2016 - 12:00am 1 16 googleplus0 0


Sen. Grace Poe is a member of the ethics panel which will handle the probe on the complaints filed against De Lima, including the alleged obstruction in the House inquiry into the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). Senate PRIB/Albert Calvelo

 MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Grace Poe yesterday assured Sen. Leila De Lima of a fair probe by the Senate ethics committee, provided the senator would explain why the illegal drug problem apparently flourished during her term as secretary of justice.

Poe is a member of the ethics panel which will handle the probe on the complaints filed against De Lima, including the alleged obstruction in the House inquiry into the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

She said the rift between De Lima and President Duterte should not always be blamed on politics and the senator must explain why she was being tagged in the NBP illegal drug trade.

“Sen. De Lima was justice secretary in the past administration when all these things flourished in the Bilibid and anywhere else,” Poe told ANC.

READ MORE...

She said it’s proper for De Lima to answer the allegations against her.

Poe rejected moves by some sectors to look into De Lima’s private life.

Like De Lima, Poe did not sign a Senate committee report clearing the administration from any involvement in extrajudicial killings.

Poe said she empathizes with the former justice chief, especially with Duterte and many other individuals accusing De Lima of receiving drug money.

“But she cannot just ‘brush off’ the allegations. She must explain herself,” she said.

Among those who accused De Lima of accepting money were NBP convicts, drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and her former lover and driver Ronnie Dayan.

Aside from criminal charges, De Lima is facing an ethics complaint for allegedly advising Dayan to snub the House inquiry.

De Lima may face penalties ranging from reprimand to expulsion should the panel find merit in the complaint.

Poe said the coming proceedings in the ethics committee, chaired by Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, might be difficult and that De Lima is aware that all public officials are accountable to the people.

“But I will be very fair, look at the merits of the case and if it really has something to do with what she has done as a senator,” Poe said.

‘Drug war like Nazi Holocaust’

De Lima is expected to return to the country this week following a series of engagements in the US and Germany, where she criticized the Duterte administration for the drug-related extrajudicial killings.

She likened the war against illegal drugs to the Nazi Holocaust.

De Lima said Duterte’s recent pronouncement that he wants to execute six criminals per day once the death penalty is restored was an understatement, considering how determined the President has been in taking out people involved in illegal drugs.

“The emerging comprehensive program of this administration revolves around death and killing. Given that around 20 or more are being summarily executed everyday, it is even an understatement that Duterte will execute only a quarter of that number every day once the death penalty law is passed,” De Lima said.

“I won’t put it beyond him to order the execution of twice that number just to match the statistics on EJKs,” she added, referring to the extrajudicial killings.

The manner in which the administration is carrying out the war against illegal drugs and the rising number of killings prodded De Lima to compare it to the way the Nazis in Germany killed over six million Jews during World War II.

Just as Hitler saw the murder of Jews as the “final solution,” De Lima said Duterte’s campaign to eliminate the drug problem through summary and legal executions is not at all different.

“This ‘final solution’ eerily harks back to the final solution of the Nazis to their so-called Jewish problem. Duterte is just on his way to delivering on his promise to exterminate the supposed three million addicts who he regards as sub-humans,” De Lima said.

For criticizing the war against illegal drugs and the extrajudicial killings, De Lima has been treated as an enemy of the President and his supporters.

The President has accused De Lima of involvement in the illegal drug trade and for allegedly turning the country into a “narco state.”

Many of the President’s supporters, including members of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and Solicitor General Jose Calida, tagged De Lima as “public enemy number one” and “patron saint of narco politics.”

De Lima said Duterte’s supporters are “expected to echo his insanity.”

“I’d rather not dignify yet another act of lunacy on the part of those evil minds. They’re as unhinged as their principal,” she said.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

De Lima hits ‘public figures’ who believe she was in drugs By: Maila Ager - Reporter / @MAgerINQ INQUIRER.net / 11:08 AM December 21, 2016 SENATE/FEB.2,2015


A day after Senator Grace Poe (left) urged Sen. Leila de Lima to explain why illegal drugs ‘flourished’ during her term as Justice secretary, the embattled lawmaker hit back at ‘public figures’ who ‘swallowed hook, line and sinker’ the Duterte administration’s ‘fantasy’ that drugs proliferated during her term. INQUIRER PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA

Senator Leila de Lima expressed dismay on Wednesday that some public figures “have swallowed hook, line and sinker” the administration’s “fantasy” that illegal drugs proliferated in the country when she was the secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

De Lima issued the statement, a day after Senator Grace Poe stated that she should explain why illegal drugs “flourished” at the New Bilibid Prisons and other parts of the country when she was was Justice secretary.

READ: Poe to De Lima: Explain why drug trade boomed during term at DOJ


PHILSTAR

De Lima says blaming her won't solve PHL drug problem Published December 21, 2016 11:13am

Sen. Leila de Lima on Wednesday said pinning the blame on her over the proliferation of drug trade during her stint as Justice secretary will not solve the problem.

In a statement, De Lima said such mindset is a "fantasy that the Duterte administration has been weaving," adding that it is frightening that "high-ranking public figures" seem to believe it.

She said the proliferation of illegal drugs in the Philippines is a systemic problem that "will not be solved by forming a lynch mob to gang up on a scapegoat."

"It's saddening and frightening that even high-ranking public figures have swallowed hook, line and sinker the fantasy that the Duterte administration has been weaving: that a single person was single-handedly responsible for the proliferation of drugs in our country, and that it took place only over the course of my term as Secretary of Justice," she said.

READ MORE...

"It is frightening because buying into that fallacy exposes us to the dangerously myopic oversimplification of the problem, which will prevent us from truly solving it because we can't even admit that the problem is systemic," she added.

De Lima also said the problem "will not be solved by denying facts, including about the source of the drugs that flow into our country and complicity of law enforcers on the ground—the very same law enforcers who are now given a license to kill and plant evidence on those killed."

"You can call me the High Priestess of all that is evil and corrupt all you want, but repeating it will not make it true, or succeed in ferreting out the true problems and real, lasting solutions to solving them. It will not change the fact that people are dying either," she said.

De Lima issued the statement a day after her colleague, Sen. Grace Poe, said "it is just right that she accounts" for how the problem of illegal drugs allegedly flourished during her stint as Justice secretary.

The neophyte senator is a key figure in the investigations conducted over the proliferation of drug trade, particularly inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

De Lima, accused of of receiving drug money that funded her senatorial campaign, has repeatedly denied such, amid the testimonies of drug personalities in Bilibid, alleged Visayan drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, and her former driver-bodyguard Ronnie Dayan.

She also maintained that President Rodrigo Duterte, who she has staunchly criticized, is out to have her removed from office. — Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/VVP, GMA News

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

House files 3rd case vs De Lima in Senate By: Christine O. Avendaño - Reporter / @10avendanoINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 01:02 AM December 13, 2016


INTERCHAMBER COURTESY A third ethics complaint against Sen. Leila de Lima has been filed by the House of Representatives, through Rep. Reynaldo Umali Jr. (right), justice committee chair, to the Senate ethics committee headed by Majority Leader Tito Sotto. —ARNOLDALMACEN


Leaders of the House of Representatives on Monday filed a third complaint against Sen. Leila de Lima in the Senate, accusing her of disrespecting the House.

The latest ethics complaint stemmed from De Lima’s advice to her former bodyguard and lover, Ronnie Dayan, not to appear at a House inquiry into allegations that he was her bagman in collecting protection money from convicted drug lords serving their sentences in New Bilibid Prison (NBP) when she was the justice secretary.

Hearings next month

Should the Senate ethics committee decide to hear the latest complaint, the hearings will start only after Congress returns from its holiday break on Jan. 15, according to Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto II.

The House complaint is the third ethics case to be brought against De Lima.

She is already facing two complaints for allegedly coddling drug lords, based on testimony of NBP inmates at the congressional investigation of the illegal drug trade inside the national penitentiary.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali filed the third ethics complaint against De Lima. House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas were the complainants.

De Lima left for the United States and Germany on Sunday.

Disrespectful behavior

Umali submitted the complaints to Sotto, chair of the Senate ethics committee, as well as to committee members Senators Panfilo Lacson and Gregorio Honasan II.

Umali said De Lima “disrespected” the House through her behavior.

“We will leave it to the sound discretion of the Senate. This is now our response to the interchamber courtesy that we would like to give courtesy to the Senate to take action to the complaint of the House,” he said.

Asked whether the House could enter into a compromise with De Lima, Umali asked how a compromise could be reached when the senator had not recognized the proceedings on the House justice committee.

Sotto assured Umali that his committee would “take the proper action.”

The senator told reporters that he would review the complaint and then send copies to committee members. The panel would then recommend whether to call hearings on the complaint.

And if the committee recommends hearings, Sotto said this would start next month because De Lima was not around to answer the accusations.

Quorum

“I also don’t know if I can muster a quorum by next week. Everybody is in Christmas mode already so I would be the one to study what possible recommendations we will give,” he added.

Sotto also gave assurance that the committee would be impartial in its investigation.

Penalty

Lacson said he believed the House complaint against De Lima was just a matter of determining the penalty that she would be facing for her action.

“I do not want to prejudge. But I think what is left for discussion is the penalty [to be imposed on De Lima] based on the evidence that has so far been presented,” he said.

Lacson pointed out that De Lima had admitted to advising Dayan not to appear at the House inquiry.

------------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Aguirre: De Lima’s disobedience case ‘easiest to file’ By: Ed Margareth Barahan - @inquirerdotnet INQUIRER.net / 01:39 PM December 22, 2016


DECEMEBR 22 -Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre (right) and Senator Leila de Lima. INQUIRER FILES

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre on Thursday said that they filed a disobedience case against Senator Leila de Lima because it was the easiest case to file.

Aside from the four cases filed earlier this month against the senator, the government filed another case on Wednesday, accusing De Lima of trying to sabotage a congressional investigation about her alleged involvement in the drug trade.

READ: De Lima charged for ‘disobedience’ to House

”’Yan po kasi ang pinakamadaling [pwedeng ikaso], hindi na kinakailangan ng counter affidavit kaya the complaint can even be filed directly, so ‘wag kayo magtataka,” Aguirre said in an interview with Radyo Inquirer.

(Disobedience is the easiest case [to file], a counter affidavit is not needed so the complaint can even be filed directly, so don’t be puzzled.)

READ MORE...

“Ayan ang pinakamabilis na kaso na pu-pwedeng disisyonan ng DOJ (Department of Justice), ‘yun pong iba, nangangailangan ng process at ‘yung four cases na finile kay De Lima, tapos na kahapon, dedesisyonan na,” he added.

(That is the easiest case that DOJ can make decision on, others would need a process, and the other four cases filed against De Lima were already done yesterday, and will be decided soon.)

READ: House files raps vs De _Lima

Aguirre said that the DOJ’s decision on the four other cases might come out by January.

He said that Kerwin Espinosa might add a case against the senator, while the National Bureau of Investigation would file against De Lima, Ronnie Dayan, and Espinosa.

“NBI po ang magkakaso sa tatlo kasi ‘di ba, sila ang nagbigayan ng pera (The NBI will file a case against the three because they are the ones who gave out money),” he said.

With all the raps filed against the senator, Aguirre sees the possibility of De Lima’s disbarment. JE/rga

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RELATED(2) FROM RAPPLER.COM

Fentanyl has driven Duterte to 'madness' – De Lima Camille Elemia @CamilleElemia Published 2:30 PM, December 21, 2016 Updated 2:30 PM, December 21, 2016


MADNESS. Senator Leila de Lima says the powerful painkiller Fentanyl has driven President Rodrigo Duterte to the point of madness.

Senator Leila de Lima also hits 'public figures' – an apparent reference to Senator Grace Poe – who believe the President's 'fantasies' and allegations against her

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has reached the point of madness for “abusing” Fentanyl, a powerful opioid painkiller usually prescribed for patients with cancer and chronic diseases.

Senator Leila de Lima said this on Wednesday, December 21, after the President said
that even if she was "glorified" with an award in the United States, she's still on his drug list.

“Duterte should stop taking Fentanyl because obviously it has already driven him to madness and to fits of paranoia where everyone he sees is either a drug addict or a drug lord,” De Lima said in a statement.

“Mr President, stop abusing drugs so for even one single second you can experience a lucid interval and discover how crazy this drug war witch-hunting has become,” she added.

The senator said Duterte should even be on top of his own drug list for using such powerful addictive drug.

“At least I, whom he recklessly and wrongly accuses as a narco-politician, haven't taken a single addictive drug in my life, while he who runs amok and froths in the mouth like a rabid animal has the temerity to make up a list, when he should be on the top of that list,” De Lima said in a statement.

Duterte earlier revealed he was prescribed Fentanyl but was eventually instructed to stop after his doctor found out he was "abusing the drug." The President said he was using the drug in patch format to treat an injury from a motorcycle accident years back. (READ: LIST: 'Migraine everyday' and Duterte's other ailments)

Duterte's 'fantasy'

De Lima, in a separate statement, also criticized “public figures,” who believe Duterte’s "fantasies," after Senator Grace Poe said on Tuesday that De Lima should explain the proliferation of illegal drug trade during her term as justice chief.

“It’s saddening and frightening that even high-ranking public figures have swallowed hook, line and sinker the fantasy that the Duterte administration has been weaving: that a single person was single-handedly responsible for the proliferation of drugs in our country, and that it took place only over the course of my term as Secretary of Justice,” De Lima said.

In reference to the Duterte administration, De Lima said: “You can call me the High Priestess of all that is evil and corrupt all you want, but repeating it will not make it true, or succeed in ferreting out the true problems and real, lasting solutions to solving them. It will not change the fact that people are dying either."

Malacañang denied De Lima’s allegation, saying the typically verbose Duterte is not a “man of words” but a “man of action.”

“I don’t think the President is solving the drug problem by name-calling. He is a man of action,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a press briefing. – Rappler.com


INQUIRER

De Lima to Cabinet: Save nation from a madman By: Tarra Quismundo - Reporter / @TarraINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:26 AM December 24, 2016


Sen. Leila De lima INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

Save the nation from a “madman.”

Sen. Leila de Lima on Friday called on the Cabinet to declare President Duterte “unfit” to serve, citing his recent tirades against the United Nations high commissioner for human rights and the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

In a statement, De Lima, one of the President’s fiercest critics, again made reference to Mr. Duterte’s use of the powerful painkiller fentanyl, saying it has compromised how his mind works.

“We have to understand by now that all the President’s statements are fentanyl-induced. He can no longer be considered to be in a normal state of mind,” said De Lima.

“How else can one explain all of these outrageous statements about the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) executives and the UN human rights commissioner who are the most professional people in their respective lines of work?” she said.

“The Cabinet should seriously consider declaring him unfit to perform the duties of the President and relay such opinion to Congress, in order to save this nation once and for all from the ramblings of a madman,” she said.

READ MORE...

De Lima made the comments after Mr. Duterte on Thursday called UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein an “idiot” for urging Philippine authorities to investigate Mr. Duterte after his admission last week that he killed at least three crime suspects when he was Davao City mayor. Mr. Duterte recounted to business leaders how he had patrolled Davao’s streets on his bike, “looking for an encounter to kill.”

Also on Thursday, an angry Mr. Duterte accused officials of the BSP and members of the AMLC of corruption and inefficiency, citing their failure to provide an “assessment report” to his office, an apparent reference to bank accounts of De Lima, whom he had accused of accepting drug money.

The AMLC, headed by BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr., with representatives from state insurance and securities regulatory bodies as members, is bound by law not to release information without court order.

“In my time as secretary of justice, during which time we worked with the AMLC in many cases that resulted in productive investigations that even resulted in the freezing of assets of some of those subject of investigation or parties to cases filed in court, I have never known said office to be uncooperative,” said De Lima.

She noted “how little” officials in the Duterte administration respected the rule of law.

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RELATED FROM TIME ONLINE

Rodrigo Duterte Says His Admission of Opioid Abuse Was a Joke but Concerns Remain Kevin Lui @kevinluikf Dec. 19, 2016


“Fools, I just made up that story and you believed it,” he reportedly said Saturday — his backpedalling has failed to allay concerns from both allies and rivals alike, with both calling on him to be more transparent, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Lawmakers demand transparency after Duterte, the scourge of Philippine drug users, admitted last week to abusing fentanyl

Lawmakers on all sides in the Philippines are now demanding President Rodrigo Duterte come clean about his health, following revelations last week that he had been abusing the same potent opioid painkiller that killed the singer Prince.

Known for waging a ruthless and very deadly drug war since he took office in June, Duterte faces tough questions following his admission last Monday that he had abused fentanyl — prescribed, he said, to relieve pain caused by spinal injuries suffered from motorbike accidents.

Duterte said that his doctor ordered him to stop using the powerful painkiller because he was “abusing the drug” by going beyond the prescribed dosage, reports the Philippine Star.

While Duterte has since claimed he was only joking — “Fools, I just made up that story and you believed it,” he reportedly said Saturday — his backpedalling has failed to allay concerns from both allies and rivals alike, with both calling on him to be more transparent, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Congressman Carlos Zarate, a Duterte ally, said that concerns over Duterte’s bill of health would be better addressed if a medical bulletin was released and “his physician explains how the President manages the pain that he suffers.”

DE LIMA's  FEAR

Senator Leila de Lima — the leading voice of opposition to Duterte’s drug war — added that concerns raised by this revelation could extend to “the impact or side effects that the medications he is taking may have, especially on his lucidity and ability to make decisions with a clear mind,” AFP reported.

Duterte subsequently insisted in an interview with the BBC that he is “not an addict,” saying that “addiction is only with regularity.”

Fentanyl is an opioid many times stronger than morphine according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse. It and other synthetic opioids were responsible for 9,580 overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2015.

According to the latest figures, more than 6,000 people have been killed in Duterte’s extrajudicial war on drugs.


INQUIRER

SolGen gives De Lima Bar exam result dare: One with lower score quits By: Tetch Torres-Tupas - Reporter / @T2TupasINQ INQUIRER.net / 06:54 PM December 21, 2016


Solicitor General Jose Calida. INQUIRER.net SCREENGRAB

For saying he has an “empty skull,” Solicitor-General Jose Calida on Wednesday dared Senator Leila De Lima to show her Bar examination score in Criminal Law and whoever has the lower score should resign.

“I hereby put a challenge to De Lima. She accused me that I have an empty skull. She was former Secretary of Justice, I challenge her to reveal her grade in Criminal Law during the Bar exams,” Calida said.

“If her grade is higher than mine, then I will resign as Solicitor-General. But if my grade is higher than hers, she should resign as senator of the Philippines,” Calida added.

Aside from saying that he has an empty skull, De Lima called Calida a “sycophant” after he labeled her as “Public Enemy Number 1” for deploring the unabated extrajudicial killings (EJKs) of suspected drug dealers and users.

READ MORE...

“She accused me of calling enemies names (but) that is an appropriate epithet for her. The proliferation of drugs is the primary concern of our country and the main policy of the Duterte administration is to suppress drugs. But since she was responsible for the proliferation of drugs in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), then she is public enemy number one,” Calida said adding that his new epithet for her is the “diva of drugs” in the country.

Calida passed the 1973 Bar examination with a perfect score in Criminal Law. De Lima, on the other hand, ranked 8th in the 1985 Bar examination.

Calida appeared before the Department of Justice (DOJ) as Tribune of the People, representing the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala, former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) deputy directors.

Calida’s appearance was opposed by De Lima’s lawyer Atty. Filibon Tacardon.

He said there may rise a conflict in the event the cases reach the courts.

But the DOJ panel led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong said what is important in the preliminary investigation stage is that the complainant is present in the proceedings and ably represented by counsel regardless of whether it is the Office of the Solicitor General or private lawyers. RAM

RELATED STORIES

De Lima called ‘mother of all drug lords’

De Lima hits ‘public figures’ who believe she was in drugs

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RELATED FRO SYBSTAR

Calida flaunts bar exam score to challenge De Lima Wednesday, December 21, 2016 By KEITH A. CALAYAG

SOLICITOR General (SolGen) Jose Calida has challenged Senator Leila De Lima to reveal her bar exam grades following the senator's statement calling him "empty skulled."

De Lima was reacting to Calida labeling her as public enemy number one for allegedly undermining the administration's war against drugs.

In a chance interview at the Department of Justice (DOJ) Wednesday, Calida has called out De Lima for accusing him of being insane. "I hereby challenge De Lima. She accused me that I have an empty skull... I challenge her to reveal her grade in criminal law during the bar exams. If her grade is higher than mine I will resign as SolGen but if my grade is higher than hers then she should resign as senator of Philippines," Calida said.

Calida also labeled the senator as the "diva of drugs."

Calida represented the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) executives Ruel Lasala and Reynaldo Esmeralda in relation to their drug trafficking cases filed against De Lima on Wednesday's preliminary investigation at the DOJ.

Baliw na si Calida! De Lima says ‘foolish’ SolGen should quit for making bar scores dare

In reply, the senator in a statement called Calida's challenge as foolish. "What a foolish challenge! He should resign on account of his lunacy! Kawawa talaga ang bansa natin ngayon...

'STABLE OF LOONIES AND SHADY CHARACTERS'

We have a President who has a stable of loonies and shady characters as his diehard enforcers," she said. In a statement Wednesday, De Lima called Calida a "sycophant" after the Solicitor General accused her of hindering the war against drugs. "In the same vein, his (Duterte’s) sycophants like Calida and [blogger Mocha] Uson are only expected to echo his insanity, the same way his crazy ideas are simply echoed inside the empty skull of his fanatic followers," De Lima said.

"So I would not put it beyond them to attack voices of reason and call their enemies names. These people are already out of their minds and can be regarded as mentally sick themselves. As such, I'd rather not dignify yet another act of lunacy on the part of those evil minds. They're as unhinged as their principal," the senator added.

Calida, who graduated at the Ateneo de Manila University Law School, scored 100 percent in criminal law in the 1973 bar exams. De Lima, on the other hand, is 8th placer in the 1985 bar exams. (Sunnex)


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