De Lima gets 2,000 threat messages, calls

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Leila de Lima slammed lawmakers for victimizing her "over and over again" when they publicly disclosed her mobile phone number and home address during a legislative hearing on the alleged drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison on Tuesday, September 20.

De Lima, a staunch critic of the administration, faces accusations of receiving payouts from drug lords inside the prison when she was justice secretary. During the Tuesday hearing, witnesses – convicts and inmates – claimed that she used a mobile number issued by the justice department to communicate with drug lords inside the prison.

The mobile number was publicly disclosed during the hearing.

In a statement, De Lima condemned what she called the "sheer indecency and foulness" of such a move, adding that the House probe was a "blatant exercise in harassment and persecution."

The senator said that as of 8 pm on Tuesday, she has received almost 2,000 text messages and phone calls from unknown individuals, threatening and harassing her.

"They have basically destroyed my right to privacy and security in my communications and in my abode. I am now literally a persecuted person displaced from my home. Worse, they have turned people into weapons of destruction," she said in a statement.

"They have victimized me over and over again, and just when I thought I could not feel more betrayed, they have once again proven that I have underestimated their audacity and evilness," De Lima added.

A day earlier, De Lima was ousted as the chairperson of the Senate committee on justice after she presented as witness a self-confessed hitman who claimed that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered extrajudicial killings when he was mayor of Davao City.

De Lima said that the moves against her showed the consequences of daring to go against those in power.

"They are making me into an example of what will happen to those who dare criticize and call out the abuses of those in power. Who would dare stand up for others now? The real victim here is the people, the oppressed," she said. – Rappler.com