RECEIVING numerous threats to her safety, Senator Leila de Lima admitted Friday she feels like “a dead woman walking.”
“I do not know what will be the end of this, what will happen next. My feeling is I live by the day. I do not know what will happen tomorrow. I still do not know whether I will be here tomorrow,” said De Lima in an interview over radio dzBB.
The beleaguered senator, whom President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to destroy, likened herself to Edgar Matobato, the self-confessed hitman who linked Duterte to the Davao Death Squad, a vigilante group that was held responsible for more than 1,000 deaths when Duterte was still the mayor of Davao City.
“My feeling is that Matobato and I are in the same situation. I’m like Edgar Matobato, but I’m just doing my job,” said De Lima.
On Thursday, De Lima said she could no longer rely on institutions such as the Philippine National Police or the National Bureau of Investigation to keep her safe.
“So what is my choice? They are violating my rights– [my] right to security, right to privacy,” she said.
De Lima said she could see Duterte wanted her expelled from the Senate.
“That’s not far… How many times have we heard that he will destroy me. In one of the press [conference], he said, ‘You’re finished.’ There’s a continuation of efforts until it’s over–until I’m devastated,” De Lima said.
Aside from the House investigation that linked her to illegal drugs, there is also the threat of a criminal case that Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has raised. In the Senate, complaints have been filed against her with the ethics committee, which could recommend her expulsion.
What’s more, she said, an election protest could knock her out of the Senate, if the candidate that she beat out wins his appeal.
All these actions, De Lima said, were meant to remove her from the Senate.
Even her allies in the Liberal Party cannot come out in the open in support of her, she said, because of the administration’s belief that her moves against Duterte are part of an LP plot to remove him from office and to install Vice President Leni Robredo, a Liberal, in his place.