Press Release
September 30, 2019

Dispatch from Crame No. 611:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Statement on Ambassador Romualdez's Defense of the Duterte Regime's Persecution against Her


Lest the American public believe Ambassador Romualdez on the supposed legality of my political persecution by the Duterte government, I am compelled, with due respect to the Ambassador, to challenge his version of the story he is peddling in the United States. It is understandable, of course, that he is simply mouthing the propaganda line of this regime.

There is nothing regular with the way I was publicly pilloried, slut-shamed, maliciously accused, and bullied on a regular basis without end by Duterte before the media in 2016, and even thereafter, when I started the Senate investigation on the extrajudicial killings in his drug war. Duterte ordered his minions in Congress to present convicted criminals to spout lies against me, the same criminal convicts who have all axes to grind with me when I raided the national prison and put an end to their luxurious living conditions.

There is nothing regular with Duterte and the highest justice officials pre-judging the accusations against me when they already declared my guilt even before any formal investigation was conducted by any law enforcement agency of the government. The investigation cum fishing expedition conducted by Duterte underlings in the national prison was led by the Secretary of Justice, the Solicitor General, the Public Attorney's Office and Duterte sycophants who were eventually rewarded with positions in government.

This was the whole legal machinery of the administration arrayed against me, using their coercive power over prison inmates and other shady characters to perjure testimonies. And when some of them refused, they were attacked with knives in a supposed "prison riot" resulting in the death of one inmate and the almost mortal wounding of several others.

My situation is just a variation of the EJK "justice" system introduced by Duterte in the Philippines. Suspects are proclaimed guilty and executed even before any investigation or trial is conducted. In my case, I was already proclaimed guilty and my public persona "executed" by Duterte and his "justice" officials even before any charges were filed or public trial started. What Ambassador Romualdez calls the legal system in our country is actually the ersatz abomination of what the rule of law used to be.

Where the President can publicly attack, proclaim the guilt, and order the imprisonment of a personal or political enemy even before any formal charges are filed in court, there can be no rule of law. There is only the rule of one man, a tyranny and a dictatorship. ###

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 611, here:

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