On Leila De Lima’s adultery

Former Philippine Commission on Human Rights Chairperson and Justice Secretary and incumbent Senator Leila de Lima has just admitted that she once had an affair with her former driver, Ronnie Dayan, who was already married at the time. De Lima admitted the affair lasted for years.

She was mistress to a married man, and that means she has violated many Philippine laws. She has admitted to playing party to violation of Article 334 of the Revised Penal Code, punishable by up to 6 years of imprisonment. She may also be guilty of inflicting emotional and mental harm on Dayan’s wife under the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act (RA 9262). If sworn affidavits presented before congress are true that she spent money on Dayan, she can be also guilty of prostitution under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 (RA 9208) (this entertainingly written article breaks down legal options against extramarital affairs).

We must remember that this is a public official who was tasked with handling human rights and justice, and is now elected to make laws.

All of these cases could only be filed against De Lima by her wife, but the wife has done nothing so far. This is a politician who is accused of having ties with drug lords and who has the backing of the Liberal Party, one of the country’s biggest political machines. Where do you think a driver’s housewife will get the courage and money to sue a mistress like that, and who also happens to be her husband’s boss?

In any case there is sufficient cause for her disbarment as a lawyer and her suspension from the Senate under ethical grounds. If she were an employee in a company, she’d be fired by now.

De Lima has since requested the public to respect her private life. But I do not think there is anything in her private life worth respecting.

The honourable senator is a public figure, and in her prominent position she is sending the message that adultery is acceptable and forgivable, that it is okay to destroy marriages and families just because she is a woman and she thinks she needs to fill her orifices with a married man’s erection.

She is sending the message that it is okay to ruin the lives of children, to make them learn to doubt the reality of love and loyalty, to lose trust in a parent’s word of honour and respect for them as a whole, or even to grow up without one parent because either the cheating parent left for the lover or the offended parent left, leaving the children behind.

I know what a betrayed wife looks like in her devastation, doubting her own worth as a human being after having been discarded, grieving over the wasted years of marriage, blaming herself for failing as a wife, agonizing over her own powerlessness. It is not a look I want any child to see in their mother.