Duterte's counsel on De Lima arrest: Law shines triumphantly

Leila de Lima, one of the fiercest critics of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody war on drugs, was arrested in Manila on drug-related charges.

On the day of her arrest, De Lima compared the treatment of the Duterte administration of its critics to that of the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III, saying the latter never engaged in any political persecution.

A Manila court issued an arrest warrant for the opposition Senator Leila de Lima.

Prosecutors last week filed three separate criminal complaints accusing de Lima of conspiring to distribute illegal drugs dating back to when she had oversight of the prison system from 2010 until 2015.

De Lima, a human rights lawyer before joining government, said the charges are a vendetta against her after she a year ago led a Senate probe into alleged extrajudicial killings during Duterte's anti-drugs crackdown.

The CIDG served the warrant of arrest on De Lima when she stepped out of her Senate office in Pasay about 8 a.m. Despite the warrants of arrest, the court will still hear the senator's motion which was originally set for Friday.

The party stated that it is concerned for "Ms.de Lima's life", as a result of a Philippine mayor, accused of drug trafficking by Duterte, being slain in his jail cell after police officers reported that the mayor had "pulled a gun" on them during a search.

Senator de Lima has announced that she will submit to arrest and face the charges.

He has called her a sex-starved "immoral woman". "The truth will come out at the right time".

She mentioned that her innocence will be proven soon, before she was taken into the prison.

While the senator was being booked in Camp Crame, her security aide brought De Lima a meal bought from a fast-food joint.

"If they respect the Senate as an institution, they should not force an arrest tonight", she told reporters at the Senate.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said de Lima will be treated fairly and should not fear for her safety where she was detained.

"Her continued and relentless tirades against President Duterte could lead to criminal liability for the commission of the crime of inciting to sedition", Panelo said in a statement.

De Lima's Liberal Party, which ruled for six years under Aquino, voiced deep anger on Thursday at her imminent arrest.

She announced earlier on Friday she would not resist arrest but vowed to continue her fight.

De Lima previously claimed she was targeted because of her criticism of Duterte's drug war policy.

Since his inauguration on June 30, an anti-drug drive has seen more than 7,000 people killed over suspected drug links - with over 60 percent of the deaths carried out by unknown assassins.

De Lima has said the case against her might be the "wakeup call" the country needs, referring to the absence of a public outcry over the drug killings.

  • Leroy Wright