AMID the legal challenges thrown at her, Senator Leila de Lima claimed she is a victim of political persecution.
“This is travesty of truth and justice. Plain and simple political persecution,” she said.
De Lima, fiercest critic of President Duterte, vowed to fight it out “for as long as I can.”
“They can never break my spirit,” she said.
De Lima had earlier said that she was expecting her arrest following Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II’s statement that the resolution on the cases filed against her will be out anytime soon.
“I have long prepared myself to be the first political prisoner under this regime, because the criminal charges and prosecution are nothing less than a politically motivated act by the Duterte regime to clamp down on any vocal opposition against its support for a policy of EJK in dealing with suspected criminals,” she said.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) has filed three criminal cases before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) against De Lima in relation to her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).
De Lima said they will file corresponding motions as soon as the cases are raffled to a specific branch.
“If the loss of my freedom is the price I have to pay for standing up against the butchery of the Duterte regime, then it is a price I am willing to pay. But they are mistaken if they think my fight ends here. It has only begun,” added De Lima.
In the end, De Lima said, justice will prevail and she will be vindicated.
De Lima was accused of violating Section 5 and Section 28 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which pertains to the sale and trade of illegal drugs, and the criminal liability of government officials and employees.
The charges stemmed from complaints received by the DoJ from the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, National Bureau of Investigation, and New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) inmate Jaybee Sebastian.
De Lima has denied the allegations, which she said were orchestrated by President Duterte as payback for her crusade against his bloody anti-narcotics war and the so-called Davao Death Squad.
Also charged along with De Lima is former Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Jesus Bucayu.
The Muntinlupa RTC is expected to assess whether arrest warrants will be issued against De Lima and others charged.