Leading critic of Duterte arrested on drug charges

2017-02-25 19:02
Senator Leila de Lima is escorted by police after a warrant for her arrest was issued on drug charges. (Bullit Marquez, AP)

Senator Leila de Lima is escorted by police after a warrant for her arrest was issued on drug charges. (Bullit Marquez, AP)

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Manila - A Philippine senator and leading critic of President Rodrigo Duterte's deadly crackdown on illegal drugs said she won't be intimidated by a leader she called a "serial killer" after police arrested her on drug charges.

Senator Leila de Lima said the accusations against her were part of an attempt by Duterte to muzzle critics of the clampdown in which more than 7 000 suspected dealers and small-time users have died. She questioned why the court suddenly issued the arrest order when it was scheduled to hear her petition to throw out the charges of receiving bribes from detained drug lords.

"If they think they can silence me, if they think I will no longer fight for my advocacies, especially on the truth on the daily killings and other intimidations of this Duterte regime....it's my honour to be jailed for what I've been fighting for," she said before police took her into custody at the Senate.

Fair day in court

A police convoy, trailed by media vans, took de Lima to the main police camp, where officers took her mugshot and fingerprints before they locked her up in a detention centre.  Two former senators she helped prosecute for plunder when she was the justice secretary have been detained in the same center for three years.

Vice President Leni Robredo and other political allies expressed support to de Lima, saying she was being persecuted for criticising the president. Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the head of bishops in the predominantly Roman Catholic country, said the senators and others charged should be accorded "their fair day in the court of laws."


Read more on:    rodrigo duterte  |  philippines

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