PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has admitted that he ordered the transfer of 10 high-profile inmates who testified against Sen. Leila de Lima from New Bilibid Prison (NBP) to the Philippine Marines headquarters for their safety.
He claimed De Lima, who has been detained at Camp Crame in Quezon City on drug charges for over two years, still had allies at NBP.
“There is an issue that there were some whom I didn’t detain at the penitentiary in Muntinlupa. I had them transferred to the Marines,” Duterte said in a speech at Barangay Inoburan here during the groundbreaking ceremony for a housing project for victims of last year’s landslide that killed dozens.
“Why? Because I feared that De Lima still had many allies left there and those who testified against her might be slaughtered. Then when the time comes, no one would speak of the truth,” he added.
De Lima, who served as justice secretary under then President Benigno Aquino III, is one of the fiercest critics of the President.
As head of the Commission on Human Rights, she led an investigation of Duterte’s alleged death squad which executed hundreds of crime suspects in Davao City when he was its mayor.
De Lima also initiated a Senate inquiry into thousands of alleged extrajudicial killings in his war on drugs, which angered the President.
She claims Duterte instigated the drug charges against her in retaliation for her criticisms and investigations.