In other countries, the normal and the right thing a disgraced politician would do is resign. This is a noble gesture to demonstrate personal accountability for damage a politician may have caused the public office he or she occupies. It is a show of respect for one’s country and government.
These virtues cannot be used to describe Senator Leila de Lima. De Lima has, time again since she won a seat in the Philippine Senate, shown that she is not worthy of the respect a Philippine senator is supposedly entitled to. This is because she has repeatedly disrespected her office. She used it to launch a media circus against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, acted inappropriately in a manner unbecoming of a Philippine Senator, lied to her colleagues, the media, and the Filipino people, and tainted the institution with scandal over her past indiscretions.
She also made a mockery of the feminist movement. She attempted to excuse her very public sexual indiscretions with a subordinate who is currently on the run from a summons to attend a congressional probe by describing it as an outcome arising from the “frailties of a woman”. In doing so, she has shown that she is not above playing the victim card o the back of a gender debate skewed towards political correctness.
No less than the Filipino women’s rights advocate group Gabriela denounced all this in a statement that asserted that “so-called frailties of women even men or any gender can never be cited as a defense for crimes, be it adultery, abuse of authority by a public official or drug trafficking.”
But instead of taking personal accountability and do the honourable thing by resigning her post, de Lima seems bent on clinging to power at all costs – including passing blame to someone else…
“My track record as a public official, first as Commission on Human Rights chair and next as secretary of justice, speaks for itself. My record and my reputation have been untarnished until now because of all these unjust, unfair and false allegations and fabricated lies against my alleged involvement in the drug trade. I have made my peace with my past and my family. I don’t know if my primary attacker can say the same,” De Lima said in a statement, adding that her mission is to stop the extrajudicial killings and summary executions happening in our country, as well as to address other social issues.
Indeed, whatever it is that de Lima is trying to achieve while in the Senate, it seems that none of it has anything to do with her job as senator — to craft laws. More importantly, she has failed to be a role model to Filipinos.