A post shared thousands of times since 2016 contains a video which purports to show Philippine Senator Leila De Lima admitting that she protected drug traffickers operating in Bilibid Prison south of Manila. This is false; the video has been edited from a speech by the senator in which she denied allegations she had fostered the prison drug trade.
The 1:28 video in this Facebook post, published on August 8, 2016 and watched more than three million times, shows De Lima speaking in the Philippine Senate plenary hall.
Translated to English, the accompanying caption reads: “Let’s share this guys! De Lima already admitted that she’s a protector of drug peddlers. What is a fitting judgment for her! COMMENT and SHARE!”
Below is a screenshot of the post:
Screenshot of Facebook post
De Lima was arrested in February 2017 on charges of drug trafficking following allegations she profited from selling narcotics at the prison during her time as justice secretary. She says she is innocent and the accusation is politically motivated by her opposition to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Here is an AFP story about the incident.
Here is a transcript of part of De Lima’s comments in the misleading video:
“But the truth is I was protector of the Bilibid drug lords.”
“I myself started drugs at the National Bilibid prison. I myself continued operations of the National Bilibid Prison, of drugs, together with this is the confirmation that there is shabu laboratory inside the national penitentiary.”
“Yes Mr. President, there is shabu laboratory inside the Bilibid Prison even in the tunnels under it. Those who will search the tunnels will get a whiff of the smell of cooking methamphetamine.”
“Only under my term did the luxurious makeshift tents of the druglords sprout in Building 14, separate from the ordinary prisoners.”
“Yes, Mr. President, I am a druglord coddler and I am against the war on drugs because I am protecting the drug trade. Yes Mr. President, I will surrender my mandate…”
Shabu is a slang term for methamphetamine.
The misleading video is an edited version of a Senate speech by De Lima from August 2, 2016, during which she defended herself from accusations she was involved in the drug trade at Bilibid Prison.
A report of the speech was published here by local news site GMA News on the day it was given.
An unabridged version of her speech was also published on the official YouTube channel of the Philippine Senate on the same day.
AFP has published a side-by-side comparison of the original footage with the misleading video that appeared six days later:
Here are the parts of her original speech which were edited and used in the misleading video:
“I myself started the war on drugs in the National Bilibid Prison.”
“I myself continued cleaning up the National Bilibid Prison of drugs in follow-up operations before I resigned as secretary of justice.”
“Yes Mr. President, there is no shabu laboratory inside the Bilibid Prison, not even in the tunnels under it. Those who will search the tunnels will get a whiff not of the smell of cooking methamphetamine, but of methane that comes from the human waste of the prisoners above.”
“Only under my term as Justice Secretary that the cleaning started in Bilibid. Only under my term were the luxurious makeshift tents of the druglords were demolished and they were transferred to Building 14, separate from ordinary prisoners. But of course, all of this has been sorely forgotten in the face of a formidable demolition campaign against me in the social media.”
“The lies are intended to show me as protector of the Bilibid drug lords. But the truth is I was the only Justice Secretary since the 1986 EDSA Revolution who dared to eradicate the dominion of the drug lords inside Bilibid.”
“This well-oiled social media operation intends to take that away from me. In the eyes of the people they have already succeeded to a great extent. They project me as an enemy of this administration, that I am calling for an investigation on the drug killings because I am a drug lord coddler, that I am against the war on drugs because I am protecting the drug trade.”
“I will not surrender my mandate as a Senator of the Republic to these unelected and unaccountable personalities whose own motivations in the demolition of my person is highly questionable and utterly despicable.”
Here is the full transcript of her speech.
A number of misleading videos alleging De Lima’s involvement in the Bilibid drug trade have circulated before and after her arrest.
Here is an earlier AFP factcheck debunking posts which claimed to show De Lima singing a rendition of “Careless Whisper” by British singer George Michael at a concert staged by a high-profile Bilibid inmate.