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De Lima apologizes for Senate walkout

Sen. Leila M. de Lima apologized yesterday to the public for her outburst and for walking out of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights hearing on the extrajudicial killings in the country Monday night.

De Lima said she was deeply hurt by the accusations of her colleagues against her and demanded an apology from them.

“I wish to apologize for the outrage last night and the walkout. But I’m addressing po itong apology kong ito sa publiko kasi naghihintay din po ako ng apology sa mga kasamahan ko,” De Lima told reporters in an interview.

“Masyado pong masakit (at) hindi katanggap-tanggap yung inaakusahan ka ng mga bagay na hindi mo naman ginawa o ginagawa,” she said.

Late Monday night, Sen. Richard J. Gordon, chairperson of the panel, accused De Lima and Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV of material concealment after she did not inform the committee of the kidnapping case filed against whistleblower Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed member of the Davao Death Squad.

Matobato, in his initial testimony last September 15, told senators that when he decided to cut ties with the infamous squad, his colleagues wanted to get rid of him by filing a kidnapping case against him.

That night, Gordon said he was disappointed after learning Matobato had already left the hearing and accused him of misleading the committee after he failed to inform Senate probers that a kidnapping for ransom case had been filed against him at the Samal prosecutor’s office.

De Lima reiterated she cannot be accused of material concealment because Senate records show that Matobato, during the hearing last September 15, admitted that a kidnap for ransom case was filed against him.

The witness, she said, repeated his statement that the common-law wife of Sali Makhdum filed a case against him upon questioning of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and Gordon. (Hannah L. Torregoza)