Philippine president's fiercest drug-war critic faces arrest

Philippine president's fiercest drug-war critic faces arrest

Philippine president's fiercest drug-war critic faces arrest

The senator, Leila de Lima, has fiercely denied the allegations since Duterte first levied them in August, describing them in a statement Friday as "manufactured stories" meant to make an example of her and "to intimidate, silence, and destroy anyone who dares challenge" Duterte.

Prosecutors alleged De Lima, while she was justice secretary under former president Benigno Aquino III, received bribes from detained drug lords to finance her senatorial campaign.

Aguirre's department has accused De Lima of using drug money received from imprisoned drug traffickers for her Senate campaign past year, saying that the inmates received special privileges in return.

De Lima went home on Thursday night but rushed back to the Senate after hearing reports the CIDG team would serve the arrest warrant at her house in Paranaque City.

A Metro Manila regional trial court said there is probable cause to arrest de Lima for allegedly violating the country's drug laws.

Liberal Party president Senator Francis Pangilinan, for his part, said De Lima is unlike any other high-profile inmate, owing to her previous post as justice chief. I call on them to publicly express their strong disapproval of the blatant abuse of our justice system for political persecution...

De Lima was quick to speak out against it, introducing a Senate resolution to investigate the killings within two weeks of her taking office.

"She should now prepare her legal defense against the grave charges against her that merit a long prison term if she is found guilty after a fair trial".

LP senators who kept De Lima company while she waited for the service of the warrant, condemned "the political persecution of courageous administration critic Sen".

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On Tuesday, Ms Lima described Mr Duterte as a "sociopathic serial killer" and urged his cabinet to declare him unfit to rule because he had a "criminal mind".

"The haste is deplorable", they said in a statement, noting the judge just came from a trip to Macau and could not possibly have studied the "thick" motion to quash De Lima filed last Monday. De Lima continuously criticized how the administration handled the crackdown of drug trafficking in the country.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, another Duterte critic, said the primary objective of the arrest was to send a chilling message to the political opposition and critics that they could be next.

She also asked her family, friends and supporters to pray for her safety.

Between the times Duterte took office in late June and January 30, 2,551 suspects have died in police operations against drug users and pushers, according to police statistics.

The charges were brought against De Lima by the Philippine Justice Department, which is headed by justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, a fraternity brother of Duterte.

"The majesty of the law shines triumphantly when a senator of a republic is arrested and detained on account of a criminal charge".

Read the full text of De Lima's statement here.

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