De Lima says Duterte plotted her ouster

MANILA, Philippines – Hours after she was removed as chairperson of the Senate committee on justice, neophyte Senator Leila De Lima said no doubt President Rodrigo Duterte was involved in her ouster.

"Wala po akong duda na may kinalaman diyan ang ating Pangulo. Imposible po walang kinalaman dito ang ating Pangulo,” De Lima said in a televised interview.

(I have no doubt that the President is involved in this. It's impossible that the President has no hand in this.)

Voting 16-4, the Senate ousted De Lima as head of the Senate panel investigating the spate of extrajudicial killings under the administration.

For the senator, it was not a surprise that the administration wanted her out of their way. She said she already “anticipated” it while listening to Cayetano’s privilege speech. (READ: Duterte on De Lima ouster: I won't intervene)

“Na-anticipate ko na rin po yung desisyon sa kanyang statements dahil siniraan nga ho ako nang siniraan. He’s again imputing ill motive. Ay sabi ko siguro paaalisin na nga ako as chair of the committee,” De Lima said.

(I anticipated the decision based on his statements that really destroyed me. He's again imputing ill motive. I told myself, maybe they will oust me as chair of the committee.)

“In others words it’s a done deal. Pinag-usapan na. Plinano na nila ito,” she said.

Poe, Binay vote vs her

Only 4 voted to keep De Lima as committee head: her fellow Liberal Party members such as Senate Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon, senators Francis Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, and Risa Hontiveros.

Two senators abstained: Minority Leader Ralph Recto and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

The 16 senators who voted against De Lima are:

Duterte more furious now

De Lima’s ouster came after the senator presented in a hearing on Thursday, September 15, witness Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed hitman of the Davao Death Squad.

Matobato accused Duterte of ordering killings when he was still mayor.

With this, De Lima expected that Duterte got all the more furious at her.

“So sigurado po ako. Kung dati nga galit at nakikita naman natin 'yun, sinasabi niya publicly 'yung ngitngit sa akin, 'di lalong nagngitngit 'yun nu'ng narinig niya sinabi ni Mr Matobato,” she said.

(So I'm sure. If before he is already mad, which we see because he expressed is anger in public, now he is all the more furious when he heard the statements of Mr Matobato.)

Asked about her next steps, De Lima said she would still think it through, as she admitted feeling emotional.

De Lima earlier walked out during Cayetano’s speech, saying she could no longer stand the latter’s baseless accusations.

“I will sleep over this pero syempre halong emosyon po ang nararamdaman ko kaya nga ho di ko napigilan sarili ko habang nagsasalita si Senator Alan na magwalk out na lang,” she said.

(I will sleep over this but of course, I am feeling mixed emotions that is why earlier I couldnt stop myself an walked out while Senator Alan was speaking.)

De Lima is set to deliver her own privilege speech on Tuesday. –

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.