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The senator who initiated an investigation into Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's deadly anti-drug campaign asked the Supreme Court on Monday to stop verbal attacks against her by Duterte, who has described her as a "dirty woman" for allegedly having an affair with her driver.

Sen. Leila de Lima, who has been linked by Duterte to the illegal drug trade, said the petition she filed seeks to stop the president and his men from gathering information about her private life and disclosing it publicly. The petition is a test case because it challenges the president's immunity from lawsuits.

"I am here to exorcise my demon," de Lima said at a news conference with her lawyers and supporters. "(Duterte) wears a crown and sits on a throne now, but that should not shield him from being held responsible for launching a personal vendetta against one of his own citizens."

Backing up her petition, de Lima said she submitted to the court a CD containing video and audio recordings of Duterte's verbal attacks against her, including a public speech in which the president remarked that he has evidence against the senator and told her she "better hang" herself.

Duterte suggested in the speech that since watching an alleged video of de Lima in a romantic moment with her driver, "I lost my appetite."

Women's groups have hit Duterte for bullying de Lima with such attacks.

Duterte's spokesman said the senator was portraying herself as a victim and using her gender to divert attention from illegal drug allegations against her.


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