• President aired his thoughts on senator’s plan to probe spate of drug-related killings
  • He said he does not blame her because it’s her job, would do the same if their roles were reversed
  • Palace also welcomed De Lima’s call for Senate inquiry into killings

MANILA, Philippines – As far as President Rodrigo Duterte is concerned, it’s “trabaho lang, walang personalan” as far as his relationship with Senator Leila De Lima goes.

At his meeting with the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) at the Palace on Wednesday, the president said he harbors no ill-feelings towards De Lima over her call to conduct a Senate inquiry into the spate of drug-related killings.

“I do not blame De Lima, trabaho niya iyan eh [that’s her job],” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as saying.

According to Duterte, he would do exactly the same thing as De Lima is doing right now if their roles were reversed.

“Kasi kung ako ang ilagay mo diyan, yayariin talaga kita,” he said.

[If I was the one who was placed there (as the investigator), I will really grill you.]

Duterte served as a prosecutor in Davao City for several years before venturing into politics.

Legislative’s Independent Authority

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, on the other hand, also welcomed De Lima’s push for an investigation; saying it is within the powers of the legislative branch to do so.

“Basically, that is the job of the legislative, to be able to exercise their independent authority. So they’re welcome to make the necessary investigations as they see fit,” he said.

Although their rocky relationship was somewhat mitigated with their encounter during Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA), the president and De Lima have remained at odds over the hundreds of drug suspects killed — some under questionable circumstances — amid the PNP’s campaign against the illegal drug trade.