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.
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.