Solicitor General Jose Calida on Thursday cast doubt over Senator Leila De Lima's reputation after releasing a photo showing her with Jaybee Sebastian, a suspected drug lord operating inside the New Bilibid Prison.

The photo was allegedly taken inside Sebastian's kubol (makeshift dwelling), according to a report of GMA News' Mariz Umali on "24 Oras" on Thursday.

"She looks good in the picture. What was she doing in the mansion of Jaybee Sebastian? Calida said. "And there are many other photos. Ito pa lang ang teaser."

De Lima denounced insinuations linking her to Sebastian or "to any other convicted or suspected drug lord or operator now or in the past."

“I categorically deny any insinuation of me extending any protection or accommodation to any criminal," the senator said in a statement.

"My personal and professional records would belie all accusations hurled against me, which are obviously intended to malign my good name and reputation and to undermine the performance of my lawful duties as a senator,” she added.

The senator recalled she attended several management committee meetings of the Department of Justice, including one hosted by Bureau of Corrections then headed by BuCor Director Gaudencio Pangilinan.  

"That one meeting which was covered by the media at the premises of the National Bilibid Prison was also attended by other top officials of the DOJ, including the heads of attached agencies and BuCor officials," she said. 
De Lima said the ManCom members mingled with some inmates during certain activities on the same day as part of the reformatory program of BuCor.  

"It is most likely where the photograph was taken and is now being shown by Calida out of context," she said. 
She also asked Calida to stop his "fixation" on "Throwback Thursday" photos of her, and instead just start  reading the 501-page decision on the country's victory over China on the maritime dispute in the South China Sea. 
De Lima then warned those who are attempting to implicate her to any illegal activity such as illegal drugs. 

"You will be frustrated. While I have been patient with all the attacks, I will never be intimidated.  Rather, I will remain steadfast in fulfilling my sworn duty as Senator to uphold the Constitution and human rights," she said.
The senator earlier denied the allegation arising from a viral video that she sat next to and literally rubbed elbows with convicted bank robber and drug lord Herbert Colangco. 

De Lima said she was sitting beside Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, who was a guest at her 56th birthday celebration held at the DOJ quadrangle on August 27, 2015.

Source: GMA NEws

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