Senator Leila de Lima on Friday, Oct. 22 said she has no problem with Senator Richard Gordon being included in Vice President Leni Robredo’s senatorial slate despite the negative perception that he played a huge role in her persecution as a vocal critic of the Duterte administration.
De Lima, who is running for reelection under the 1Sambayan opposition coalition, said she did not object to Gordon’s inclusion in their lineup, saying she believes the Senate blue ribbon committee chief, who is also running for another fresh term in the Upper Chamber, has finally realized President Duterte’s ferocity.
“I did not object to Sen. Gordon’s inclusion and I do not intend to do so. I perceive a change of heart and regret of the past when he chastised Duterte recently for imprisoning ‘a senator elected by the people’,” De Lima said in a statement.
“I also recognize and fully appreciate Sen. Gordon’s courageous conduct in the face of Duterte’s weekly personal attacks on him, now that he is the one who is speaking against Duterte in defiance of the latter’s wishes that the Blue Ribbon Committee shut down the Pharmally hearings,” she further said.
Gordon has been at the receiving end of the President’s attacks after launching an investigation into the government’s questionable and alleged overpriced procurement of COVID-19 pandemic supplies from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. which senators perceived has been favored by the state.
De Lima said she has no qualms setting aside her feelings behind “for the sake of uniting against and defeating the evil who is Duterte.”
“Sen. Gordon has gotten a taste of Duterte’s venom and viciousness, a fraction of what was done to me four years ago. He currently experiences similar character assassination and mindless demolition of reputation that I did in the hands of Duterte,” she said.
“Come to think of it now, we are a small and exclusive club. We should stick together and help each other until this person who so dishonored us is held to account, and punished, for his excesses,” she added.
“Most important of all, there is a greater battle to fight, bigger than my own struggles and personal hurt feelings over those who wronged me in the past. If people can change and regret the wrong that they did to me, the least I can do is to put my hurt feelings behind for the sake of uniting against and defeating the evil who is Duterte and his anointed lackey who threatens to continue his kind of malevolent regime beyond 2022,” the detained lawmaker added.
De Lima, who is currently detained over the drug charges filed against her by the Duterte administration, said she believes both of them can now find a common ground to stand on.
“After all, this was never about me, just as the Pharmally investigation now is not about Sen. Gordon…My fight was about the victims of extrajudicial killings, their families, and every Filipino whose lives and security were made pawns by Duterte’s power play, just as Sen. Gordon’s now is about accountability for the lives lost and put in peril while Duterte and his minions are pocketing Filipino taxpayers’ money,” she stressed.
“It was Duterte who shifted the focus because he feared facing the truth and consequences of his own guilt. That’s where we, Senator Gordon and I, can find a common ground to stand on: it is time for Duterte to learn about the power of truth and the consequences of betraying the people,” De Lima emphasized.