De Lima on Duterte's claims: Bits of truth - but mostly lies

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Sen. Leila De Lima

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Embattled Sen. Leila de Lima admitted on Friday to some of — but for the most part denied — the searing allegations made by President Rodrigo Duterte against her on Wednesday.

De Lima, smarting from the recent tirade, told reporters there was only a modicum of truth in the President's claims linking her to drug money and an illicit affair.

"(There were) some snippets of truth," she said. "But the bulk of it are distortions, are exaggerations and lies."

The Senator said foremost of the "lies" was that she had a go-fer who collected money from the national penitentiary, and the amount was used to fund her senatorial campaign.

"That's an absolute lie," De Lima said.

The lawmaker, however, did not elaborate which parts of the allegations were true.

Watch: 'We senators should stand up to protect our dignity'

No mending fences

Duterte, in a speech before the national police two days ago, initially had hinted that a Senator had a driver-lover who collected drug money on her behalf. He said that this lady lawmaker even paid for a house for this married man — making her an adulterer. Later on the same day, Duterte — pressed to name names by a reporter — blurted out: De Lima.

Watch: Duterte fires back at De Lima

Reacting to De Lima's "hurt" speech on Thursday, Duterte said De Lima brought everything upon herself when she took part in a scandal. In answer to the Senator's plea to spare her family and friends, the President said the life of a public official should be an open book.

Related: Duterte to De Lima: No apologies

Duterte also added that unlike what she did with Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, she was not apologizing to De Lima — saying involvement in drugs was something non-negotiable for him. Duterte also had a mouthful for Sereno last week over another drug list which included four judges.

Related: DOJ: Lack of evidence, witness hinder probe on 'Davao Death Squad'

Meanwhile, Palace officials — when asked to comment on the ongoing bitter verbal tussle — said what they knew was that the President had a bone to pick with De Lima way back when he was still a Mayor. De Lima, who was Justice secretary then, had linked Duterte to a liquidation squad reportedly executing drug suspects vigilante-style.

For his part, Duterte's ally and House Speaker Pantaleon "Bebot" Alvarez filed a resolution to look into drug-related cases inside the New Bilibid Prison when De Lima was Justice secretary. The Bureau of Corrections, which supervises the country's prisons, is under the Department of Justice.

CNN Philippines' Cecille Lardizabal contributed to this report.