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Anti-crime group asks Supreme Court to suspend De Lima’s lawyer’s licence

Group says she had an affair with her driver and received money from a drug lord

Image Credit: AFP
Senator Leila De Lima attends the Senate drug hearing at the Senate building in Manila.
Gulf News

Manila: An anti-crime group asked the Supreme Court to suspend the lawyer-license of Sen. Leila de Lima who admitted having a love affair with her driver-bodyguard.

“The admission of Senator De Lima about her illicit and scandalous relationship in public with Ronnie Dayan is definitely not “a frailty of a woman” (as she admitted in an interview, in defence of herself),” said Dante Jimenez, of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).

A lawyer should not dismiss such indiscretions as a “frailty of a woman,” said Jimenez, adding, “Her public admission warrants her immediate suspension from the legal profession until the resolution of the disbarment case filed against her.”

Jimenez also accused De Lima of obstruction of justice when she conveyed to Dayan’s daughter, Hannah Mae, that Dayan should go into hiding and not appear at the House of Representatives which served him a subpoena.

“Senator De Lima’s act of blatantly urging Dayan to snub the committee hearings, and instead hide in the meantime suggests her disregard of the rule of law. What she initiated was obstruction of justice not to mention that it was a disrespect of a co-equal institution,” said Jimenez, referring to the two houses of Congress.

“She was making a mockery of our justice system — it is ironic considering her previous post as justice secretary,” said Jimenez.

The complaint, which was filed with the office of the bar Confidant, also accused De Lima of “gross immorality”.

She said in an exclusive interview on November 14 that she had a two-year affair with Dayan, adding that he was separated from his wife Neneng, when the affair began.

But when Dayan surfaced after he went into hiding, he told a House inquiry that he had a seven-year affair with De Lima.

He also admitted receiving campaign money for her senatorial bid (in the May elections) from self-declared drug lord Kerwin Espinosa.

Dayan denied though that he collected money for De Lima from convicted drug lord who have continued operating while serving time at the National Penitentiary in suburban Mandaluyong.

In reaction, De Lima said she is being politically persecuted by the Duterte administration.

She called her detractors “clowns”.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said that De Lima could be the highest government official who protected drug lords in exchange for drug-money that she received from them. Earlier, Duterte named top ranking policemen as drug lord protectors.

Other sources said more than 10,000 government officials have been on the take from drug lords, making the Philippines a ‘narco-state”.

Foreign and local rights groups have criticised the Philippine government’s anti-drug campaign that killed thousands since July. The police said that drug syndicates were responsible for more than half of the incidents.

Illegal drug trade reached $8.4 billion a year in 2013, authorities said.