Press Release
April 14, 2018

Revenge triggered fake news vs her - De Lima

Aware that she made powerful enemies throughout her years of public service, Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has no doubts that the tide of fake news directed to her was a product of revenge by her political foes.

De Lima, who is currently under pre-trial detention for trumped-up illegal drug trade charges based on manufactured evidence and perjured testimonies of convicted felons, said the public should look no further than President Duterte himself.

"[Duterte] has harbored a grudge against me since the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), of which I was the Chairperson, investigated his alleged involvement in the so-called 'Davao Death Squad', which was brought to light outside his territory of Davao City through the report of then UN Special Rapporteur on Summary Killings, Prof. Phillip Alston," she said.

"To hear him recall the investigation, it is clear that he has not forgiven me, a woman, for my temerity to investigate his alleged involvement in the Death Squad," she added.

Before assuming the Senate post, De Lima was appointed as Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (2008-2010) where she energized the country's premier human rights body in addressing cases of human rights violations.

As secretary of the Department of Justice (2010-2015), De Lima carried out President Aquino's directives in resolving renowned cases, including the prosecution of several prominent figures linked in the misuse of development funds, the murder of media practitioners in Mindanao, and the dangerous raids of the prison cells for maximum security inmates.

It was also under her watch as head of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) that the Philippines was removed from the US Human Trafficking Watchlist, paving the way for its long-hoped-for upgrade to Tier 1 status.

The online fake news about De Lima were mostly shared and re-shared by pro-Duterte pages and websites to various social media platforms, notably Facebook and YouTube.

Without naming names, De Lima said that aside from Duterte, she has also run afoul with other powerful and influential people she previously investigated and filed charges against, thus making her an easy target of vengeance.

"I knew even then that many political operators, including those who have made a career of peddling lies for their own gain, were more than willing to help weave a web of lies about me, whether because of simple self-interest or as revenge for the strong stance I took against graft and corruption in government when I was Secretary of Justice," she said.

"They say that no good deed goes unpunished, and that public service can be a very thankless job. I know it, I am living it, and I've known it even before I ran for office. I cannot say that I did not come into this with eyes wide open. I did," she said.

"But I did it anyway because, as hard as the job is, someone has to do it - someone has to stand for the voiceless, the oppressed and the powerless," she added.

The Senator from Bicol earlier revealed that some of her family members, notably her sister and son, were also unwitting targets of fake news across social media platforms peddled by some sinister groups.

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