De Lima begins 'legal offensive against Duterte'

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Sen. Leila De Lima (right) filed sexual harassment, psychological violence, and slut shaming allegations against President Rodrigo Duterte (left).

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Senator Leila De Lima began what she calls her "legal offensive" against President Rodrigo Duterte by filing a writ of habeas data against him at the Supreme Court on Monday.

In the 26-page petition, De Lima asked the President to refrain from gathering details about her personal life and to stop using such information to humiliate her or trample on her dignity.

A compact disc – containing video and audio recordings of verbal attacks hurled by Duterte against De Lima in public – was submitted as evidence to the Supreme Court by De Lima's camp.

De Lima also submitted an assessment report made by psychologist Dr. Sylvia Estrada Claudio, which states the psychological effect inflicted by Duterte's acts and utterances against her.

De Lima's camp filed sexual harassment, psychological violence, and slut shaming allegations against Duterte.

De Lima said these attacks and threats violate Republic Act (R.A.) Nos. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials) and 9710 (Magna Carta of Women).

"Ang sinampahan ko ng kaso ay si Rodrigo Roa Duterte – hindi ang Pangulo ng ating bansa. Nagkataon lamang na isa sa mga maskarang isinusuot ni Rodrigo Roa Duterte ay ang maskara ng pagka-Pangulo ng ating bansa," De Lima said.

[Translation: "I filed a case against Rodrigo Roa Duterte - not to the President of the Philippines. It just so happened that one of the masks that Rodrigo Roa Duterte wears is that of the President's."]

"Si Rodrigo Roa Duterte ang aking sinampahan ng kaso dahil sa kahindik-hindik, karima-rimarim at kasuklam-suklam na mga banat at pananalita niya laban sa akin. Mga pananalita na walang kinalaman sa kanyang tungkulin bilang Pangulo kahit na pilit niyang ginagamit at sinasamantala ang posisyong 'yan para maisakatuparan ang kanyang personal na pagnanasang parusahan ako."

[Translation: "I am filing charges against Rodrigo Roa Duterte for his outrageous, disgusting, and hateful tirades and verbal abuse against me. These words are unrelated to his duty as President, even when he misuses and abuses his post to fulfill his personal goal of making me suffer."]

Also read: De Lima: I am not the queen of Bilibid drug trade

Atty. Jose Manuel Diokno, De Lima's legal counsel, said this is "groundbreaking" as this is the first time such case was filed before the high court.

However, De Lima said habeas data is a "test case" against Duterte, since the President enjoys immunity from cases while in office.

Related: De Lima: Duterte's immunity is useless against International Criminal Court

Stint with CHR

De Lima said her clash with Duterte started way back 2008, when she was appointed chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

De Lima recalled, that she was also investigating alleged extrajudicial killings during her term as human rights commissioner.

"Hindi ba't doon nga lumutang at sumikat ang isa sa kanyang mga heneral na binansagang 'the butcher', si Jovito Palparan Jr. , at noon din lumutang sa buong mundo, kabilang na sa bulwagan ng United Nations, ang tinatawag na 'Davao Death Squad'," De Lima said.

[Translation: "It was during that time when General Jovito Palparan Jr., became notorious as 'the butcher', and when the world took notice, including the United Nations, of the Davao Death Squad."]

"Hindi ko po inimbento 'yan. Hindi pa po ako lingkod-bayan, DDS na ang DDS (Davao Death Squad). In fact, maybe you can say that I became a public servant precisely because of the acts attributed to the butcher, the DDS, and the like."

[Translation: "I did not invent that. Way before I became a public servant, DDS was already DDS. In fact, maybe you can say that I became a public servant precisely because of the acts attributed to the butcher, the DDS, and the like."]

During the campaign period in May, De Lima said Duterte could be held criminally liable for allegedly admitting his ties to the shadowy vigilante squad that human rights groups blame for the extrajudicial deaths of some 1,000 crime suspects in Davao City since the 1990s.

Related: Duterte: There is no Davao Death Squad

Duterte has repeatedly denied his involvement in the DDS – and the existence of such a group.

In September, during the Senate probe on alleged extrajudicial killings, witness Edgar Matobato testified he is a former member of the vigilante group, and revealed Duterte's supposed involvement in the DDS.

Also read: Malacañang: Extrajudicial killings not Duterte's policy

Duterte a 'bully'

De Lima accused Duterte of using his power as President to "get back" at her for investigating alleged extrajudicial killings.

"Instead of seeing the opportunity of making the Philippines a truly better place for his people, his children, [he] decided that he (Duterte) will use that to get back at me for the sins he thinks I committed against him and against those who helped him win the elections," De Lima said.

The lawmaker said the President himself said that he wants to "drive" her "to suicide".

"He had imposed his own brand of death penalty by bullying through the misuse, abuse, and exploitation of the power of the Office of the President and the might of the Executive branch with the complicity of certain members of Congress and professional trolls and bullies," she said.

De Lima also criticized Duterte for "using" her "womanhood" to "silence" her "dignity".

"To use a weapon meant to oppress repress and diminish women in order to perpetuate even greater human rights violations - I refuse to cower, I refuse to give in. You call me a slut, a woman of the world... Yes I am a strong woman who will not allow an insecure man to destroy her," De Lima said.

Also read: Duterte blasts De Lima: Immoral, used narco money

'Media noise'

The Palace seems unappalled by De Lima's latest move.

For Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, De Lima's filing of case against Duterte was meant to "generate media noise to drown out the accusations against her".

Abella added De Lima is "apparently playing the gender card" to protect herself from reported ties with drug lords and the rampant drug trade inside the national penitentiary.

"By portraying herself as a victim she seeks to distance herself from the intimate relationships which were also intertwined with drug trafficking while she was DOJ Secretary," Abella said in a statement.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Cecille Lardizabal, Senior Correspondent Ina Andolong, and Digital Producer Arra Perez contributed to this report.