Senator Leila de Lima has admitted that “as a woman,” she had her moments of weakness and her own share of personal mistakes, but receiving drug money and sleeping with drug convicts were not among them.
In a speech before students and faculty members of Miriam College in Quezon City, the embattled senator again denied allegations against her in the House inquiry on the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
“Yes as a human being, as a woman I have frailties, I have weaknesses, I have certain flaws. As a woman I made mistakes in my personal life and I’ve always considered my personal life as a private matter, it’s a sacred thing to me,” said de Lima, a mother of two whose marriage (to Plaridel Bohol) had been annulled.
De Lima, a former Justice secretary and Commission on Human Rights chief, did not elaborate on her personal mistakes, but she insisted she was not the “bad and evil woman” that people in social media and in the House justice committee proceedings had claimed.
“I am not the bad and evil woman they are trying to portray in the past few weeks. I have not partied with or slept with any drug convict,” she added.
De Lima has been accused by drug convicts and former officials of the Bureau of Corrections and the National Bureau of Investigation of accepting millions of pesos from illegal drug operations allegedly run by big-time drug lords at the NBP.
There were even instances, according to the inmates, when de Lima spent some time inside the “kubol” or prison apartment of kidnapping-for-ransom convict Jaybee Sebastian.
De Lima had admitted to entering Sebastian’s kubol but said she was accompanied by officials of the NBP or her security aide.
The senator was also accused of getting a total of P10mn from Sebastian in 2015, and various amounts from drug convicts in preparation for her senatorial bid.
De Lima, in her speech, denied the allegations anew, saying she never benefited from illegal drug trade in the Bilibid.
“I am not the mother of these drug lords and I am not the one who won as a member of the Senate and has turned this country into a narco-state, because in the first place our country is far from being a narco-state,” she said.
De Lima said she wanted to clarify matters, concerned that some people may have started to believe the attacks launched against her by no less than the president.
The senator at the same time called on students to help raise awareness on human and women’s rights and democracy, which, according to her, were in peril.
De Lima has been going around schools and universities to talk to students and faculty members.
“I’m doing this, because no one is listening to me in the Senate, so I might as well get out of the Senate halls and reach out to you in the hope that you would listen and open your minds,” de Lima told her Miriam College audience.
“Let’s use women’s intuition intelligently. Let’s put a stop to the evil of silence. We must speak and we must speak not just as human beings but specifically as women,” she added.