the curious case of leila de lima

it cuts across gender, the outrage over the “slut-shaming” of senator leila de lima the day her former driver-lover ronnie dayan was in the house and the committee on justice gleefully lecherously interrogated him mostly about his love affair with the senator, ostensibly in aid of checking out how close, even how intense, exactly the relationship was, the better to convince us that the senator and her former lover were in cahoots, collecting protection money from drug traders in and out of bilibid when she was secretary of justice in the time of aquino III.

but also i thought, and commented on twitter, that she was not exactly blameless.  as a public servant and public figure she could have been more careful.  the retort, of course, zoomed in on the double standard: that a male counterpart’s sexual activities would not be feasted on in a public hearing in the same way.

but how do we know?  it has never happened (correct me if i’m wrong) that a male secretary of justice / cabinet member was accused of accepting protection money or bribes from drug lords or other interest groups with the alleged connivance of an employee, maybe a secretary, with whom he was having an affair, acting as bag lady.

at kung magkaroon man na counterpart case, i have no doubt that the house of reps would behave just as gleefully and lecherously once the bag lady appeared before them.  although i imagine that it would be quite different from the dayan episode where it became usapang lalaki, with dayan being the essential macho, eager to share his sexual exploit with the boss lady who happened to be the secretary of justice, no less.  i imagine that if it were a lady on the hot seat, and she were just a bit more sophisticated than dayan, she would know to draw the line and tell off the machos, even dare them to cite her in contempt for refusing to answer such questions.  public opinion would be squarely on her side.

under de lima’s watch, of course, there was the senator accused of plunder via the napoles pork barrel scam; he was alleged to have received commissions through his lady chief of staff, with whom he was allegedly, and long rumored to, having an affair.  i don’t recall the senate holding public hearings on that one; i don’t recall ever hearing the voice of the chief of staff testifying to or denying anything.  i suppose the senator was just too senior and know-it-all, a hero of sorts even, who would surely have lashed back so that his colleagues in the senate probably didn’t dare; besides, he never admitted to the relationship, saying he was too old.  (the senate, however, did not spare another, younger, senator, also with the opposition, but who was not having an affair with his self-confessed bag lady.)

also under justice sec de lima’s watch, former prez gloria arroyo was prevented from leaving the country and eventually placed under hospital arrest, and eight members of iglesia ni cristo’s sanggunian board were charged for illegal detention based on a complaint by a besieged iglesia minister.

As Secretary of Justice, De Lima continued to collect the enemies that would one day seek her “karma,” in the words of former first gentleman Mike Arroyo and, more recently, the daughter of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.

that’s tony la viña, standing as character witness, in Leila de Lima: A woman for all seasons. and this is randy david reacting to de lima’s public humiliation in Do lawmakers have a sexual life?

Someone is undoubtedly behind this badly written script, someone who seeks to destroy Senator De Lima because she has become emblematic of everything that the Aquino administration stood for. To destroy her is to deface the legacy of that administration.

indeed de lima could be innocent.  it may be true that she was never on the take, she did not use money from the drug trade to win herself a seat in the senate.  but there are questions that she has managed not to answer satisfactorily, if at all.  principally: why did the drug trade in bilibid continue anyway even after oplan galugad’s more than 30 raids from 2014 to 2016?

and if she was not on the take, then who pocketed/banked all those millions in cash that the bilibid boys said they contributed for her campaign?  dayan?  but how could de lima not have known?  or were they all lying — the bilibid boys, dayan, and kerwin espinosa — just to help along president duterte’s fearless forecast that de lima will rot in jail?

but whether or not she was on the take, de lima was certainly very careless when it came to her love life.  gets ko naman that she has a thing for the driver-bodyguard type of guy.  medyo liberating for a woman ‘yung being in a position to indulge one’s sexual preferences and urges, or should i say, to succumb to one’s sexual frailties, never mind how unconventional or tacky or taboo (as hamlet’s mother did, to his utter dismay).  pero di ko gets that she allegedly indulged in such frailty for 7 long years, from when she was human rights commissioner through most of her stint as secretary of justice — this last a sensitive position that should have compelled her to exercise the utmost discretion para hindi mabuking ang kanyang frailty at ma-exploit ng mga masasamang loob to the detriment of nation.  i mean, you know, she owed it to nation to be beyond reproach and beyond victimization.

i always doubted that she was on the take just because hindi ako makapaniwalang inakala niya that she could get away with it, she would never get caught, no one would ever dare spill the beans on her bilibid drug-trade racket.  i found that quite curious, even incredible.   hubris ba ang tawag doon?  sagot ng isang atribida, hindi po, akala po ni de lima mananalo si mar for president, tapos si leni o si bam in 2022.  di po ba yun ang mantra ng LP?  12 more years?!?

well, that might explain it.  but after mar had lost and digong was going to town na with his allegations of her involvement in the drug trade as protectress, she continued to be quite careless, particularly with that text message via dayan’s daughter advising her former lover to ignore the house justice committee’s summons at magtago na lang.

it was rather shortsighted of her not to have anticipated that without serious assistance the guy would eventually be caught and that text message revealed.  as it turns out, silence would have been the better part of valor.  what if she had at once admitted the relationship instead, and dayan had promptly heeded the summons and faced off with the bilibid boys?   then perhaps much more info would have come to light about the bilibid drug trade, narco-politics, and de lima’s role, if any, than about her sex life.

the good news is, dayan is set to testify in a senate hearing of ping lacson’s committee on public order and dangerous drugs on monday, dec 5.  we might see daw a face-off between dayan and kerwin espinosa.  sana with senator de lima na rin, although she might be, you know, too frail for that.


  1. manuelbuencamino

    “indeed de lima could be innocent.” She does not have to prove her innocence. Wiggie Aguirre has to prove her guilt beyond reasonable so it should be “indeed de lima could be guilty”

    Korek ka Why do men get away with having bad girls but women that play with bad boys get pilloried? Those are insecure men from the president down to those congressmen who get on a moral high horse when strong women exercise their right to choose. (Your example of JPE and his lady friend is perfect. OK for JPE but not for Leila.) They cannot abide strong women. One of those congressman used to torture and beat wife his regularly. She ended up jumping off a building. Mas bagay sana if he and his colleagues ay nag sando (what they call in the US wife-beater shirts) during the hearing kasi I wouldn’t be surprised if more than one of them raise their hands on uppity women.

    I don’t think Leila would knowingly accept dirty money for her campaign. Although that’s SOP for many politicians who tell their campaign fund solicitors “don’t tell me where that came from” as their way of absolving themselves. There are a few, VP Leni for one, who are very careful about where the money comes from. She always asks who it is from and why the contribution. And she rejects those that don’t meet her criteria.

    The most I would imagine Leila did was to ignore or dismiss as chismis stories she heard about people close to her. But that is common for many politicians. And to a certain extent I can understand where they are coming from kasi laging may intriga, laging may naninira, laging meron kaaway. I’ve heard many politicians say “kung paniniwalaan ko lahat yan ng wala naman ebidensya mauubos ang tao ko.” I know it’s a handy excuse but them again there is truth to it. So many of those in power ask for solid proof before they act against people in their inner circle. And when they do, they still have to do it in a way na hindi lalabas na nanghuhulog sila ng mga loyal na tao when it is convenient politically. It’s a fact of political life, a life that’s based on trust and loyalty of followers. Just look at du30’s reaction to the murder of Mayor Espinosa. Right away he said he stands by the story of his cops unless and until proven otherwise. Hindi kasi susunod sa kanya ang mga pulis kung hindi sila sure na he will stand up for them.

    One other thing I noticed about those House hearings. Congressmen didn’t ask questions to establish the credibility or non-credibility of those convicts. One of them was behind that BPI robbery and cold-blooded killing of I don’t know how many tellers and bank employees. He had down lie down and shot all of them. Contrast the manner he was treated in the House with the way Matobato was treated in the Senate. Bakit ganun?

    Maybe the Ombudsman will do a better job investigating Leila, maybe her office will be appear more dignified and impartial than those representaives that Mon Tulfo described as being like “sex-starved teenagers”

  2. LILIA QUINDOZA SANTIAGO: … How I wish the good Senator would be forthright though and answer questions as a public official and not only as a private citizen. Like I read her say, she would never destroy a person who has been part of her life. Fine. but when public officials choose their right to privacy over public duty, there’s something to be learned and questioned there di ba? King Edward (am I right?) of England abdicated the throne to live a very private life with the one he loved. I believe if the good Senator so chooses her private life to be unscrutinized, she should simply RESIGN as Senator of the Republic, fight her own demons and battles and lead a very private life.

    • john c. jacinto

      If Delima resigns, Duterte wins in his vendetta. This drug-crazed administration knows that it has no evidence against Delima to pin her down for drugs. They just had to invent it through a congressional “inquiry in aid of legislation.” I can live with Delima’s frailties as a woman. I would only change my mind about it if Delima is shown to have abused her government position to “enjoy” those frailties.

      • true. i don’t see her resigning. despite the admission of frailties, i can see her being as macho (when it serves her purposes) as the 3 senators who didn’t resign from the senate even when they were indicted na and detained. but i do wish she would be, as lilia says, “forthright and answer questions as a public official and not only as a private citizen.”

  3. uy, de lima attends senate hearing, on the warpath … interrogating bato, then marcos — teka, anybody out there know if this supt. marvin marcos is related to the marcoses / romualdezes? cos he’s from tacloban.

  4. de lima insists dayan and espinosa lying. irreconcileable versions. dayan knows daw that de lima doesn’t know espinosa atbp… but refuses to cross-examine them, giving them opportunity to straighten out their stories first and tell the full truth… “but i forgive you all,” dahil ginagamit lang kayo. but begs them to tell the senate the truth. the senate will protect them.