Is a letter to former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Francis Tolentino enough proof of an alleged relationship with an ex-traffic enforcer? Senator Leila de Lima does not think so.
"Is that evidence of my relationship? My God, grabe naman ito!" De Lima exclaimed during a press briefing Thursday. President Rodrigo Duterte alleged on Wednesday that the senator has a new beau, an MMDA enforcer named "Warren" who serves as her escort. "Si [former MMDA Chair] Tolentino ang nag-report," Duterte said. De Lima had allegedly written Tolentino about a request regarding the enforcer. "It was an official request to Tolentino…it's [regarding Warren] as a former MMDA enforcer," De Lima said, declining to elaborate on the nature of the request. De Lima said she pitied the man, who is part of her security detail, and said the allegations about him are "malicious." "He was just assigned to me and is no longer connected with the MMDA," she said. She also questioned why Duterte would name Tolentino. "It would be so awkward…he would not know whether to admit or not to that tsismis. It's plain tsismis," she said. The rumor-mongering and innuendos against her are part of a strategy to diminish her credibility, De Lima said, as she is the head of a Senate committee probing extra-judicial killings allegedly done in the name of the government's war on drugs. However, she added that her opponents are wrong if they think they can break her spirit with their "unimaginable" and "unprecedented" personal attacks. Aside from alleging that De Lima has a new beau, Duterte has claimed there is a sex video which shows the lawmaker and her lover. "As a woman, it's very offensive…You can only start prying into my private life kung nakikita niyo na it is affecting the performance of my work. That is always my attitude," she said.