- President explained why he exposed De Lima’s relationship with her driver
- He also said senator is lying about her innocence
- He will allow her to proceed with her investigation though
MANILA, Philippines – Deflecting criticism that his expose against Sen. Leila De Lima was below the belt and misogynistic, President Rodrigo Duterte in an early Sunday morning conference explained he had no other choice but to publicly name De Lima’s driver and rumored lover Ronnie Palisoc Dayan because he was her link to the illegal goings-on in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
“There is the fact that because of that relationship with her driver, which I termed immoral, gave rise to the corruption of what was happening inside the national penitentiary,” he said.
Duterte also said the solon was lying about her innocence when asked to react to her denial about being involved in the illegal drug trade.
“She’s lying through her teeth,” Rappler quoted him as saying. “Senator De Lima, it was your greed and immorality that did you in. I think it’s beyond your control already.”
The president also warned prison officials to cooperate with any probe in De Lima’s alleged misdeeds in Bilibid.
“Remember this: when we start to ask questions, you better tell us the truth, or else, I will charge you all – superintendents, wardens, supervisors – the case of conspiracy to commit a serious wrong, or at the very least, seriously neglecting your duty,” he said. “You were there for almost all the time that these things happened. Do you mean to say that you did not report it to your superiors? Or you allowed these things to happen by yourself, only your authority and nobody else’s?…. It could not have happened without your connivance. It could only mean conspiracy.”
At the same time, however, Duterte said he is letting De Lima proceed with her own probe on the spate of drug-related killings even as the House of Representatives will investigate her on their own.
“In the meantime that we are now waiting for the House of Representatives, which is also conducting its own probe, I urge De Lima to proceed with her investigation,” he said.