Philippines: Senator Leila de Lima arrested on drugs charge

    Philippines: Senator Leila de Lima arrested on drugs charge

    Feb.24, Manila: A Philippines senator and staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs has been arrested by law enforcement agents after charges were filed in court alleging she received money from drug dealers inside the country's prisons, media reports said.

    Senator Leila de Lima is accused of orchestrating a drug trafficking ring when she was justice secretary during the 2010-2015 administration of Benigno Aquino.

    De Lima, her former driver and bodyguard and a former national prison official were ordered to be arrested by a local court on Thursday after a judge found merit in criminal charges filed by the Department of Justice last week.

    De Lima has denied the charges, calling herself a victim of political persecution and saying she has long prepared herself to be the first "political prisoner" under the Duterte administration.

    According to De Lima "While the issuance of the warrant of arrest is questionable, I do not have any plans to evade it," she said, calling the order premature as the court has yet to hear the response from her lawyers.

    She slept in her Senate office overnight then gave herself up to armed officers in flak jackets who put her in a van and drove into morning rush hour traffic apparently towards police headquarters.

    Duterte, 71, won a presidential election last year after promising during the campaign to eradicate drugs in society by killing tens of thousands of people.

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

    The Oslo Times International News Network