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Leila: ‘Hulihin nyo na ako ngayon!’

Trembling in anger, Senator Leila de Lima yesterday dared President Duterte to order her immediate arrest, saying she would not run away from the allegations hurled against her.

“Hulihin nyo na ako ngayon! Yon naman talaga ang gusto nyo. Ikulong nyo na ako ngayon,” De Lima’s voice boomed during a hastily-called press conference.

“I’m not going to leave this country and escape anything because there is nothing to escape from. I want to fight here in the country!” De Lima said.

“Hindi po ako duwag dahil wala akong kasalanan. ‘Yung mga nagtatago lamang, at tsaka ‘yung mga duwag ang umaatras.

Hindi si Leila de Lima. Hindi ako pinalaki ng tatay ko para maging duwag,” the senator shouted.

De Lima faced the media hours after learning that a riot broke out in the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) that left one dead and four wounded.

She condemned the reported riot inside the national penitentiary, claiming it could just be a scare tactic of the Duterte administration to persuade the so-called Bilibid 19 inmates to testify against her.

“If this is the case, this means we have reached a new level of murderous policy in this government. I am not discounting the possibility that this so-called ‘riot’ is Malacañang’s way of sending its message to prisoners who refuse to implicate me in the Bilibid drug trade as part of (Justice Secretary Vitaliano) Aguirre’s and Malacañang’s tele-serye drama projecting me as the Bilibid Drug Queen,” De Lima said.

The senator pleaded Malacañang to stop this tactic which she labeled as desperate and despicable actions.

“It makes this government an assassin-state, a state that promotes murder and summary executions as policy and as weapons against its perceived enemies,” she charged.

In the same press conference, De Lima made mention of the mistakes in the drug matrix which led Duterte to apologize to three Pangasinan officials who he had accused of protecting the illegal drug trade.

The President’s apology, she said, is a clear admission “that there is really nothing in that ridiculous drug matrix that links me to the illegal drug trade.”

Her voice cracked when she admitted feeling helpless learning that even her former staffs are being harassed by the government to testify against her.

“I feel so helpless. I can’t even provide them lawyers,” De Lima said.

“This is the worst challenge! In its sobrang sheer brazenness, it’s almost surreal, unimaginable, unprecedented na ginagawa ng sitting Pangulo ang ginagawa niya ngayon against a sitting senator because of personal vendetta and whatever motives he has,” De Lima said.

“Tapos ginagamit as pawns, as tools, as instruments mga the likes of Aguirre and all other operators,” she added.

“And they call themselves men! Ganyan ba mga lalaki? They’re cowards, they’re false, and they are liars. That is the bunch of officials we have now,” she howled. (HANNAH TORREGOZA)