De Lima to Cabinet: Save nation from a madman

Sen. Leila de Lima

MANILA — Save the nation from a “madman.”

Sen. Leila de Lima on Friday called on the Cabinet to declare President Duterte “unfit” to serve, citing his recent tirades against the United Nations high commissioner for human rights and the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

In a statement, De Lima, one of the President’s fiercest critics, again made reference to Mr. Duterte’s use of the powerful painkiller fentanyl, saying it has compromised how his mind works.

“We have to understand by now that all the President’s statements are fentanyl-induced. He can no longer be considered to be in a normal state of mind,” said De Lima.

“How else can one explain all of these outrageous statements about the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) executives and the UN human rights commissioner who are the most professional people in their respective lines of work?” she said.

“The Cabinet should seriously consider declaring him unfit to perform the duties of the President and relay such opinion to Congress, in order to save this nation once and for all from the ramblings of a madman,” she said.

De Lima made the comments after Mr. Duterte on Thursday called UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein an “idiot” for urging Philippine authorities to investigate Mr. Duterte after his admission last week that he killed at least three crime suspects when he was Davao City mayor. Mr. Duterte recounted to business leaders how he had patrolled Davao’s streets on his bike, “looking for an encounter to kill.”

Also on Thursday, an angry Mr. Duterte accused officials of the BSP and members of the AMLC of corruption and inefficiency, citing their failure to provide an “assessment report” to his office, an apparent reference to bank accounts of De Lima, whom he had accused of accepting drug money.

The AMLC, headed by BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr., with representatives from state insurance and securities regulatory bodies as members, is bound by law not to release information without court order.

“In my time as secretary of justice, during which time we worked with the AMLC in many cases that resulted in productive investigations that even resulted in the freezing of assets of some of those subject of investigation or parties to cases filed in court, I have never known said office to be uncooperative,” said De Lima.

She noted “how little” officials in the Duterte administration respected the rule of law.