‘Dapat siya ang pinakulong mo, hindi ako,’ de Lima tells Duterte after cocaine use claim on presidential bet

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 19)— Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Friday hit President Rodrigo Duterte following his allegation that a presidential bet was using cocaine, saying the chief executive should have apprehended that person amid his administration’s drug war.

Kung ganoon, dapat pala siya ang pinakulong mo, hindi ako,” de Lima wrote on her social media page. “Hindi ba kasama ang cocaine sa drug war mo?”

[Translation: If that is the case, then you should have jailed that person, not me. Isn’t cocaine part of your drug war?]

Duterte on Thursday questioned the credentials and accomplishments of a certain presidential hopeful, who he claims is into cocaine and is a “weak leader.” While he did not name the candidate, Duterte dropped hints during his speech — including that the person has an influential father and a strong following.

De Lima, for her part, said it was “pretty obvious” whom Duterte was referring to. She noted that the president seemed to have known the matter all along.

Malacañang said it would be up to Duterte if he would be naming the aspirant.

[L]ahat naman ng mga illegal drugs kasama 'yan sa drug war. Let's leave it to the sound judgement na lang ni Pangulo kung kailan niya pangalanan,” Duterte’s acting spokesperson Karlo Nograles said in a media breifing.

[Translation: All illegal drugs are part of the drug war. Let's leave it to the sound judgement of the President when he would be naming (the candidate).]

De Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte, has been detained since 2017 for what she describes as fabricated drug-related charges. The lawmaker first earned the ire of Duterte when, as then chairman of the Commission of Human Rights, she investigated hundreds of suspected killings by the so-called Davao Death Squad when the President was still the mayor of Davao City.

TIMELINE: De Lima's four-year struggle in prison