De Lima's inbox: Marcelino pressured to speak against her; hate from 'trolls, Duterte fanatics'

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Sen. Leila De Lima sat down with CNN Philippines as she prepared to lead a Senate investigation into alleged extrajudicial killings linked to the Duterte administration's fight against illegal drugs. (File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines)Marine Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino, a former drug enforcement executive facing revived drug charges, is under increased pressure to witness against Sen. Leila De Lima, the embattled senator herself said Thursday.

Certain groups have been trying to convince Marcelino to speak against De Lima as early as July 19, according to a text message from Marcelino that was forwarded to De Lima by their common acquaintance.

By that time, the Department of Justice (DOJ) had already cleared Marcelino of drug charges for "inefficiency of evidence."

"Hindi pa ako masyadong makagalaw at labas ngayon dahil ang dami gustong kumatay sa akin, bok. Di ko pa rin mapuntahan si Senator LD (Obviously referring to me, Leila De Lima, LD) kasi ginagawan kami ng mga fabricated stories," De Lima read before reporters in a press conference at the Senate.

[Translation: I can't freely move and go out now because there are many seeking to slaughter me. I also can't go to Senator LD because there are fabricated stories being made up against us.]

"There are also some groups who are trying to convince me to speak against her. But rest assured na hindi ako pagagamit sa kanila (I won't allow them to use me), Mistah," the message said.

"Not only because I really appreciated and forever indebted sa inyo ni Ma'am (to you and Maám) but because the people deserve no less than the truth and justice, with my little knowledge and brief encounter with her, I never doubted whatsoever her integrity, Mistah."

In less than two months, the pressure on Marcelino escalated, based on a September 5 text message, De Lima said.

"Mistah, pressures against me are mounting and they would even reopen my case. But rest assured that I will never give in to them, Mistah. Please tell Senator L to keep faith and be strong," De Lima said, quoting the text.

Prior to reading the messages, De Lima showed a broadsheet with a news item on DOJ filing a new illegal drugs case against Marcelino, in effect reversing its June 21 ruling to acquit the accused.

De Lima did not name the "Mistah," referred to in the message. It is a military term for classmate.


Marcelino, then working under the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the (ISAFP), was part of the inter-agency group tasked to conduct "Oplan Cronus," a botched anti-drug plan at the New Bilibid Prison.

De Lima said Marcelino's involvement is the reason her detractors are targeting Marcelino to testify against her in the House probe on the alleged illegal drug operations at the NBP.

She added more people are being convinced to speak up against her, including inmates and former colleagues.

But in a press conference late Thursday, Marcelino denied being coerced to testify against De Lima.


Witnesses presented by DOJ Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre pointed finger at De Lima for allowing the entry of illegal drugs and other contraband inside Bilibid in exchange of money for her senatorial bid in the May 2016 elections.

Watch: Witnesses: De Lima received millions from drug trade

De Lima: I'm not safe

De Lima said she has been receiving a barrage of "harassing, intimidating" texts from her other phone number, which was publicly disclosed during the first House probe on Bilibid drug trade Tuesday.

While she may not know the people behind the messages, De Lima said she is sure they came from staunch supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte.

"By the nature of the messages, these could only come from these trollers and from the Duterte fanatics," De Lima said.

De Lima read some of the almost 2,000 messages:

"Coddler, immoral, pangit (ugly)."

"Matanda ka na, konti na lang buhay mo sa mundo, di ka ba natatakot mamatay nang may kasalanan? Pwera na lang kung pati sa impyerno gusto mong mapunta."

[Translation: You're old, you have little time left on earth, aren't you afraid to die with sin? Unless you want to go to hell as well?]

"Hoy Delimaw, kailan ka magbabaril sa ulo mo? Kahit katiting wala ka na bang konsensya't kahihiyan?"

[Translation: Hey Delimaw, when will you shot your head? Don't have even a bit of conscience and shame?"]

De Lima said "Delimaw" might be a portmanteau of her surname and "halimaw" or monster.

Other messages, she just showed to the media, saying they were too obscene.


She said she is mulling over several legal actions, but does not have the luxury of time to file cases now that her life is under threat.

Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Secretary Marin Andanar on Thursday called on Duterte supporters to behave.

“Maging responsible ho tayo sa ating mga tinetext. Hindi ho maganda yung we are threatening our own. Siyempe senador po natin si Senador De Lima, she is an elected official of the land," Andanar said.

[Translation: "Let us be responsible of what we text. It is not good that we are threatening our own. Senator De Lima is our senator, she is an elected official of the land."]

"I'm no longer safe. I don't feel safe. The truth is, I'm not safe," De Lima said.

"Can I rely on the regular authorities in government? Can I rely now on PNP for my security? Can I rely now on NBI as my security, I mean I am referring to the institutions themselves. Can I rely on the AFP again as an institution to give me security?" De Lima said. 

She said she is currently residing in a "temporary place of abode" after her home address was also publicly disclosed in the hearing, which was televised nationwide and live-streamed by several websites.