De Lima ‘doing a Binay’
We watched closely on TV the hearings at the House of Representatives on the illegal drug activities at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). Witnesses placed former justice secretary Leila de Lima, now a senator, smack in the vortex of a scandal under investigation. Specific accusations were made about her receipt of enormous amounts of money from drug dealers mostly for her senatorial campaign.
We watched, too, De Lima’s privilege speech at the Senate where she denounced the malicious persecution against her by the hatchet men of President Duterte in the House. And we waited with bated breath for the other shoe to drop: Her specific denial of all the specific accusations against her. But nothing in the shape or form of plausible evidence came out of her mouth.
De Lima, alas, simply did a Binay, so to speak. To recall, former vice president Jejomar Binay was similarly being investigated by a Senate blue ribbon subcommittee for alleged shenanigans when he was mayor of Makati City. Instead of answering the charges against him, Binay simply dismissed the hearings as a “sham” and refused to take part in them. He invoked executive privilege and immunity as vice president.
De Lima is now using the same tack, thus declining an opportunity to clear her name. She invokes “interparliamentary courtesy” which prevents the House from compelling any member of the Senate to appear before its investigative committee. She should know by now the dire consequences of burying her head in the sand. Public opinion mercilessly trashed Binay’s bid for the presidency, and for good reason.
Stephen Monsanto was dead-on: “De Lima has a lot of explaining to do” (“De Lima is in a bind and has a lot of explaining to do,” Opinion, 9/19/16). Her refusal to “dignify” the accusation about her supposed “dalliance” with a married man whom she allegedly trusted enough to make him her “bagman” did not help her any. Her continued refusal to “dignify” prima facie evidence pointing to her being a coddler of drug dealers in the NBP has plunged her in deeper s–t! She could have used that privilege speech to defend herself and show evidence to prove her accusers dead wrong by baring the legitimate source of her election campaign funds in the tens of millions. That alone would have made her malicious detractors fall flat on their faces.
—SCARLET S. SYTANGCO, [email protected]
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