MANILA - Senator Leila de Lima, who is parrying allegations she received kickbacks from the illegal drug trade, said Friday she does not keep billions of pesos in secret bank accounts. De Lima fired back at one of her chief accusers, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, as leader of a "mafia of lies and intrigues."
"I have no millions or billions in my bank accounts. And I have no dummy accounts. Any alleged accounts that would be linked to me and my alleged drug links can only be fictitious," De Lima said in a statement. Aguirre said earlier Friday that he was considering seeking a freeze on bank accounts containing drug money. He said he did not expect De Lima to deposit alleged drug payoffs in her personal account.
President Rodrigo Duterte had accused De Lima of allowing the drug trade to flourish in the National Bilibid prisons during her term as justice secretary. The President said De Lima's former driver and alleged lover collected money from detained crime lords. Convicted drug dealers and kidnappers told a Congressional investigation this week that they helped raise money to fund De Lima's senatorial campaign this year. House leaders granted them immunity from suit over their testimonies. "Sec Aquirre and his operators are a mafia of lies and intrigues, who go to bed with criminal convicts just to get their perjured testimonies," De Lima said.
De Lima dismissed the testimonies of the witnesses Aguirre presented to Congress as "comical (katawa-tawa)." "Ang kakampi pala ng Pangulo sa kanyang Giyera sa Droga ay ang mga drug lords na minsan sinabi nilang nag-ambag ng isang bilyon para ipapatay siya. Ano yun? Change of heart? [Now, the same drug lords whom the President accused of putting up a P1-billion bounty for his head have become his allies in the War on Drugs. What is that? Change of Heart?]"