SEN. Leila de Lima's defenders say her love life has nothing to do with the allegation of corruption against her. President Duterte says it has a lot to do with it as the love affair was related to the crime.
The senator herself denied the corruption, which consisted, Duterte says, of the driver collecting pay-offs from drug traffickers at the national penitentary. She hasn't denied nor admitted the love affair.
She said there were "snippets of truth" in what the president says but it wasn't true she engaged in the drug business or protected traffickers.
She didn't include the love affair in her blanket of denials. Which recalls that in 2012, the same charges about her love life, raised by whistleblower Sandra Cam to Commission on Appointments, weren't investigated and resolved.
Four years forward, answering Duterte, de Lima appealed instead for "decency" after he publicly branded her an "immoral woman." De Lima didn't say, "Look who's talking: a public official who admits keeping a live-in wife and two girl friends." She has refused "to dignify" the sex element of the charge.
Immorality of accuser doesn't offset, much more wipe out, immorality of accused. No scale to weigh sins: Duterte's admitted sexual indiscretions and Delima's alleged liaison with married men (Cam named two).
The illicit love, Duterte argued, abetted, or was incident to, corruption by a public official.
De Lima's handicap: she's "smeared" with no formal charge and no evidence, only the word of a president on a pulpit supported by landslide vote and 91% approval rating.
She should prove her innocence, some people say, presumption of guilt being the new normal.
And it's far from over. If her "driver lover" would testify in the House hearing, people would lap it up. More riveting than telenovela and produced by the president no less.