In his column for the Manila Times, journalist Yen Makabenta said that Senator Leila de Lima could not counter the allegations thrown at her by President Duterte because of her ‘lack of credibility’ and the fact that her own political party did not defend her.

A week before de Lima leads a congressional inquiry into alleged extrajudicial killings by the Duterte administration’s war against drugs, Duterte lashes on the senator, telling the media that de Lima is an adulterer, being involved with her driver to whom she allegedly gave two houses in Pangasinan. A talk of a sex video is also spreading.

The affair, Makabenta said is an open secret at the Department of Jutsice (DOJ) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

The driver is said to have collected money from drug lords for her campaign.

Makabenta compared de Lima’s reaction to classic defense tricks used by two personalities: Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.

Yen Makabenta: De Lima can’t stand against Duterte, gets abandoned by LP
Photo by Rappler
Clinton, accused of adultery with intern Monica Lewinsky, defiantly challenged independent counsel Kenneth Starr to stop “prying into private lives”. Clinton remained silent for seven months, and when it only made rumors grow worse, he denied it in public. But it was too late.

Nixon’s classic five-word statement “I am not a crook” was in response to allegations of him profiting from government transactions. The Watergate scandal in 1973 forced him to resign from office.

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De Lima on the other hand, did not pattern her defense with these, but rather played the underdog by not denying Duterte’s allegations and instead opted to:

  • Harp on the mismatch between the awesome powers of the president and her limited powers as a senator.
  • Accuse Duterte of misuse of executive power
  • Play on public sympathy, as she is a woman who has been dishonoured; and
  • Declare that the attacks were because she was leading an investigation against the administration

Makabenta says de Lima’s problem is her lack of credibility. People would rather side with Duterte, who has a high trust and approval rating, instead of a rookie senator whose past as Justice Secretary is tainted with controversy.

People remember her as President Aquino’s hatchet girl who defied the Supreme Court to step on his enemies, Renato Corona and Gloria Arroyo.

“Under her, the country’s prisons system became a tool for the drug trade. And prosecutions focused mainly on jailing and harassing political opponents.” Makabenta said.

And now Aquino or the LP is nowhere near de Lima in the issue.

Even her colleagues do not believe that she is free of blame.

“The day after the Duterte blast, the party released a supposedly official statement calling on Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd to stand by de Lima for Senate independence. It was hardly a ringing endorsement for the lady senator.”

No Liberal senator or Liberal leader was mentioned in the release.

Makabenta says that if there would be a poll between Duterte and de Lima, 80 percent of Filipinos would side with Duterte, de Lima would be lucky if she gets 10 percent to side with her.

“Filipinos are great believers in karma or gaba – retribution for the bad things that people do in life. Many believe that de Lima is now reaping the karmic destiny that she has sown.” He said. MJM

Source: Manila Times

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Yen Makabenta: De Lima can’t stand against Duterte, gets abandoned by LP Yen Makabenta: De Lima can’t stand against Duterte, gets abandoned by LP Reviewed by Kristian S. on 20 August Rating: 5

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