Senator Leila M. de Lima has lashed out at President Duterte for resorting anew to fabricated narrative, if not killings, to silence his and his family’s critics such as herself and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
De Lima, who is subjected to political persecution after earning the President’s ire, said Duterte has now shifted his incessant attacks to Trillanes to counter Vice Mayor Paolo “Polong” Duterte’s drug links.
“The only way Duterte can counter his son’s drug links is by killing the messenger. That messenger is Senator Trillanes. He has done the same to me, he will do the same to anyone who opposes and exposes him and his family for what they are, the entitled warlord family of Davao and now of the entire Philippines,” she said in a Dispatch from Crame No. 156.
“What they [Dutertes] fall short of physical assassination, they make do with character assassination. Not that they are incapable of the former. God knows they are. Duterte and his panganay continue to be bullies in the playground. They bully the smaller kids but when the smaller kid hits back, they run to the teacher with lies,” she added.
Trillanes angered the President when the Senator alleged that Polong belongs to a “triad” behind the illegal drug trafficking activities in Hong Kong and China.
In return, Duterte accused Trillanes of having several bank accounts scattered in different countries, with the former even threatening to “destroy” the Senator.
Trillanes has denied the allegation and signed a waiver allowing Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) and the Ombudsman to investigate 12 bank accounts being linked to him to prove his innocence.
He dared Duterte to sign a similar bank waiver to disprove claims about his alleged undeclared wealth. But instead of a waiver, the President showed a bank document stating the balance of one of his bank accounts.
By failing to execute a waiver, De Lima said it is so obvious the Duterte family is not willing to be transparent to the public.
“Senator Trillanes has accepted Duterte’s challenge and is executing a waiver. After more than one year of Trillanes’ own challenge, the Duterte family still refuses to execute their own waiver. It’s not difficult to tell who is hiding something here, and who is telling the truth,” she said.
“Duterte should stop bullying the AMLC to fabricate bank account records against his enemies and nemeses. He should instead ask the AMLC to once and for all reveal the true net worth of the Duterte family. We might just be surprised to discover a Marcos-type stash of gold in the mountains, 10 billion pesos worth as Duterte once publicly boasted,” she added.
The bullying of Trillanes by Duterte calls to mind how the President maligned De Lima last year after she initiated a Senate investigation into the spate of extrajudicial killings and summary executions under the present administration’s all-out war on drugs.
De Lima, a former justice secretary, is considered as the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime after the government detained her on obviously fabricated drug charges to silence her from her vocal opposition to the President’s murderous war on drugs.