- The “Legitimate 8” has thrown their support behind De Lima in her spat with President Rodrigo Duterte
- Members of the group said the president may have gone overboard by destroying a person’s character
- They also accused the President of conduct unbecoming of his office
MANILA, Philippines – Embattled senator Leila De Lima has found new allies in her much-publicized verbal spat with President Rodrigo Duterte who called her an “immoral woman” in a scathing speech on Wednesday.
The Lower House minority group calling themselves the “Legitimate 8” has thrown their support behind De Lima in the bickering between the senator and the president.
The “Legitimate 8”, led by Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, accused Duterte of conduct unbecoming of a president in attacking and publicly-shaming De Lima with allegation of being an adulterer.
Baguilat said that Duterte may have gone overboard by destroying a person’s character, instead of just attacking her track record as a public official which is generally acceptable as part of democratic discourse.
“Calling someone an adulterer in public is not presidential, especially when one doesn’t have the moral ascendancy to do so,” said Baguilat in a text message to GMA News.
Another “Legitimate 8” member, Tomasito Villarin of Akbayan party-list, also called out Duterte’s “putrid and vitriolic language against Senator De Lima’s personality,” instead of the president supposedly just boldly facing criticisms, and arguing on the basis of policy.
“If this is about her call for an inquiry into alleged extrajudicial killings committed under the President’s war against illegal drugs, we remind the President, using his own words in the campaign trail, that if one has nothing to hide, one has nothing to fear,” Villarin said in a statement.
Aside from the “Legitimate 8”, the Liberal Party (LP), De Lima’s party, also criticized the President for resorting to “gutter language” to condemn a woman who is only “doing her job as a senator of the republic.”
“She deserves support, not condemnation; respect, and not gutter language; she and our people deserve the facts, not innuendo,” the LP said in a statement.
In her privilege speech on Thursday, De Lima scores Duterte for supposedly “misusing” and “abusing” his executive power in attacking a person whom he perceives to be an enemy of his administration.