Pride and the Debacles of de Lima
By Apolinario Villalobos
The hatred of Duterte against de Lima could be traced back to the time when he was yet the mayor of Davao City, while de Lima was the Head of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). The animosity between the two was anchored on the issue of extra-judicial killing cases of drug personalities against Duterte. De Lima strappingly threatened to bring Duterte to court to which the latter dared the former with equal tenacity. The threat of de Lima just became more pronounced when she became the Secretary of Justice. All of these happened during the administration of Pnoy Aquino during which nothing came out of the threat of de Lima to bring Duterte to court.
Unfortunately for de Lima, the guy that she hates to the bone became President. And, although, she won the last seat of the Senate, it was overcast with many questions and doubts. Her winning was purportedly part of the design of the past administration to have a stalwart Liberal representative in the Senate, and there’s no better choice than de Lima who has an intense hatred against Duterte who has plans to run after the shenanigans under the past administration.
With arrogance and pride, de Lima continued to threaten the new President, and this time, she warned that she will be his obstacle in the Senate, virtually, his pain in the neck. As an ignorant neophyte in the Senate, she thought that she has the control of the House, and that the Congress is at her command. She forgot that at the House, she belongs to the Minority, while at the Congress, there was a massive change of color from yellow to red, right on the first day of Duterte’s first day in Malacaἧan.
Duterte is right all the way when he said that if de Lima really deemed that he has violated human rights, she should have filed cases against him in court while she was still the Head of the CHR, and more especially, when she became the DOJ Secretary. But she did not, and instead, she kept on badmouthing him incessantly.
What de Lima could have done was gave Duterte a chance in eradicating the drug problem in the country. She could have offered her hand for cooperation and reconciliation for the sake of all Filipinos for whom all of them elected officials work. Obviously, her pride stood in the way. And, because of such pride, she is now in a quandary to prove that she did not benefit from the illegal drug transactions inside the Bilibid that overflowed on the streets and further involved even some government and Philippine National Police officials. Now, she has more problems that ballooned beyond her control, than she thought could be handled with a breeze during the good old days under Pnoy Aquino.
De Lima should have taken the handshake from Duterte during his proclamation as a cue for reconciliation, but she did not. Instead, the following day, she let out a barrage of threats. At the time, she was blind to the fact that she was going against a charismatic person who even claims that he won the presidency as part of his destiny. He may be accused of extra-judicial killings but nothing has been proven, yet. As a lawyer, de Lima’s eyes should be opened by this other fact, as under the justice system of any country, a person is innocent unless proven guilty in court.
De Lima was able to hurdle the first obstacle, that of immorality for living in with a married man by admitting, perhaps with a heavy heart, such fault. But what she could not undo are the tangles of other debacles in which her pride trapped her.