By Genalyn Kabiling
The war of words between Senator Leila de Lima and Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque has escalated, with the Palace official wishing the lawmaker will rot in jail.
“As I said, happy anniversary on your first year of detention. May you spend the rest of your life in jail. Good night. Goodbye. So that’s my reaction,” Roque said during a Palace news conference.
The heated rhetoric came after De Lima reportedly claimed Roque has “bartered his dignity and reputation as a human rights lawyer” since he served in the Duterte administration.
De Lima, currently detained at Camp Crame pending a trial on drug allegations, said she actually felt sorry for Roque who she claimed used to have “some semblance of credibility.”
“He held himself out as a defender of the oppressed; a human rights lawyer. Now, it seems he has sold his own identity in exchange for a possible Senate run,” she said.
“Mr. Roque, I understand, aspires to one day call himself a Senator. There is nothing wrong with that per se. But just because he has bartered his dignity and reputation as a human rights lawyer, in exchange for a senatorial berth in the President’s party, it doesn’t mean that everyone is willing to go down that path,” she added.
Roque earlier taunted De Lima by greeting her a “happy 1st anniversary” in detention. He said De Lima was “a living symbol that the Philippines has become a narco-state with her election in office funded by drugs.”
“Senator De Lima’s incarceration shows that the criminal justice system in the Philippines is alive, effective and working,” he said. “She is the mother of all drug lords by allowing the illegal drug trade to proliferate inside the National Bilibid Prison when she was the Department of Justice Secretary,” he added.