President Rodirgo Duterte has accused Leila de Lima of receiving money from drug lords locked behind bars in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
These are the same drug lords that were allowed to run their criminal empires from the comfort of their multi-million peso private suites — some even equipped with music studios and swimming pools — during the time that de Lima was the Cabinet Secretary in charge of the entire prison system.
These are the same drug lords that manufactured shabu from behind prison walls, ordered hits on rivals, coordinated the delivery and sale of narcotics throughout the country — while under De Lima’s custody.
These are the same drug lords that Duterte has vowed to put out of business, at the risk of his life, his honor, and the presidency, and in the face of de Lima’s constant attacks against him.
These are the same drug lords that Duterte says gave money to de Lima’s driver during the campaign. This is the real news story from Duterte’s revelations.
Not the sordid tabloid news about illicit affairs and sex videos. That is only an footnote. A sideshow tucked in a dark corner behind the grandstand.
But that is what the news is obssessed with. That is what people are talking about. That is what the President’s critics are choosing to focus on. That has now been their battlecry: “an immoral President has no moral authority!”
But this is not about de Lima’s lovelife. This is all about Duterte’s charge that she was receiving money from drug lords to use in her campaign. This is all about her using her position to possibly influence, distract, and derail the crusade against crime that has yielded a 49% drop in the crime rate. Nothing in what Duterte said is more important than this, not even if he said that de Lima has regular orgies with farm animals, mythical creatures, and Martians. That would be interesting, but still, it would be about her involvement with drugs.
Sometimes I wish Duterte would be less… colorful when he speaks. Maybe then people will understand the point he wants to make easily and more clearly. Maybe then his critics can stick to the main argument and not divert the discussion to so many other side topics. Like what is happening now. Instead of focusing on the bigger issue, which again I repeat is the President’s charge that de Lima RECEIVED MONEY FROM DRUG LORDS, people are discussing the finer points of morality, extramarital affairs, and who can say what to whom and for what reasons.
But that is who he is. That is how he talks. And that is the way his supporters want him to be. Duterte speaks their language. There is nothing polished or prepared about Duterte. He speaks from his heart all the time. Every time. He is unafraid of the sticks and stones that are thrown at him, and even seems to draw strength from it. His sincerity in dealing with friends and foes alike is a breath of fresh air after years of double-dealing and backstabbing.
Then again, this is also not about Duterte, his morality, nor his speaking style. This is about de Lima possibly being under the control of the drug lords who Duterte alleges funded her campaign. That is what we should all be talking about. That is what we should all be angry about.