De Lima hits back: Duterte clearly ‘abuses, misuses’ power
An emotional De Lima faced reporters on Thursday, August 18, but she made sure she got this message across: she would not be intimidated.
She hit Duterte for his acts unbecoming of a president when he attacked her during a Philippine National Police event in Camp Crame.
“This is no less than abuse and misuse of executive power. I don’t think the Constitution has ever contemplated such abuse of power on such scale, as it assumes every President to conduct himself in a manner befitting the office he holds. It seems that this is not the case for this President,” De Lima said.
She called on Duterte to “stop portraying her as the enemy,” and to end his threats and public shaming.
“Tama na po ang pananakot at panghihiya. Bumalik na po tayo sa kaayusan na dulot ng pag-iiral ng batas at simpleng respeto sa kapwa tao (Please stop the threats and the shaming. Let’s return to order under the rule of law and simple respect for others),” she said.
The senator lamented how someone as high as the President could attack her, who is “just a senator,” she said. De Lima said she is left with no recourse, as her attacker – the President – is immune from any charges while in office.
“How does one defend oneself, when the attacker is immune from suit, and has all the backing of executive power to support him in his personal attack?” she said.
De Lima said she only wants a “fair fight,” especiall as she is up against no less than the most powerful official in the land.
“Kahit iyon lang po sana ay ibigay ninyo sa akin, ang pagkakataon na ipagtanggol ang aking sarili, lalo na po sa isang kalagayan na ang Pangulo na ng bansa ang nagdeklara na siya ang aking kalaban at personal na nag-aakusa sa akin,” she said.
(Just give me the chance to defend myself, especially as it is the President of the country who has declared that he is my enemy and has personally accused me.)
“Pangulo po kayo. Senador lamang po ako. Patas na laban lamang po ang aking hinihingi. Sana ay ibigay ninyo sa akin ang ibinigay na rin naman ng batas at Konstitusyon sa kahit na kaninong na-aakusahan sa ilalim ng ating sistemang pang-legal,” she added.
(You are the President. I am just a senator. I am only asking for a fair fight. I hope you would give me what the law and the Constitution provides an accused person under our legal system.)
In a warning of sorts, De Lima said what was done – and would be done – to her would surely be done to anyone who wishes to oppose Duterte.
“I think it is already clear that what is being done to me is what will happen o anyone who does not bow to the wishes of the President,” she said.
De Lima refused to entertain questions after the statement, saying “Not now. I am hurting a lot.”