MANILA – Senator Leila de Lima on Monday walked out of the Senate session hall after Senator Alan Peter Cayetano accused her of destroying the country. In a privilege speech, Cayetano accused a “few politicians” and even some members of the international community of trying to destroy the image of the Philippines.

He also assailed De Lima for being a biased chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights. This, after she presented in a hearing last week a surprise witness, Edgar Matobato, who claimed to have worked as a former hitman of long-time Davao City Mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte. "When she got here to the Senate and got the committee, she (De Lima) refused to be neutral... Let someone else chair. In my past speeches I'm not asking that she will be removed from the Committee on Justice, [but] only from certain hearings where we cannot expect cold neutrality,” he said. De Lima was seen walking out of the session hall as Cayetano was giving his speech. She later admitted that she walked out because she could "no longer stand it." She said she will deliver her own privilege speech Tuesday.

After Cayetano delivered his speech, Senator Manny Pacquiao then moved to declare the post of De Lima as chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights vacant. Pacquiao made the move ahead of Matobato’s second appearance before De Lima’s committee on Thursday. When asked for her reaction to Cayetano's remarks that she was destroying Duterte, the Senate and the country, De Lima stressed that it was not her but the killings that are destroying the country's reputation. - with a report from Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News


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