- President dared senator to face newest drug charges
- He said DOJ took months to develop a strong case against her
- Panelo said raps an opportunity for De Lima, given chance to defend herself
MANILA, Philippines – Commenting on the latest drug-related charges filed against his nemesis Sen. Leila de Lima, President Rodrigo Duterte dared the solon to tackle the accusations head-on.
“She has to face the music,” ABS-CBN quoted him as saying. “Ilang testigo ‘yan [It involved so many witnesses]. It took them months to develop the case. Alam naman ng Pilipino ‘yan. Alam ng Pilipino na ganyan talaga ang istilo niya [The Filipinos know that. Filipinos know that’s her style].”
The president stressed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has built up a very strong case against the senator.
“Yes, they have a strong case”, he said.
The DOJ accused De Lima of violating Sections 5, 26(b), and 28 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 in connection with her alleged role and toleration of drug trafficking inside the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) when she was still justice secretary.
Also included in the complaint were De Lima’s ex-driver and lover Ronnie Dayan and former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director Franklin Bucayu.
According to Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Atty. Salvador Panelo, De Lima should welcome the charges as it affords her an opportunity to defend herself.
“She should be happy about that because kung tuloy ang kaso [if the case proceeds] then she will have the opportunity to defend herself. She should welcome it,” he said. “Because she has a forum to defend herself to show that she is not guilty.”
De Lima previously decried the administration’s accusations as political harassment and vowed to fight the charges.