MANILA- Embattled Senator Leila de Lima on Friday said she is prepared to be a “political prisoner” after the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed charges against her before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC).
De Lima said the charges are politically motivated by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte due to her vocal criticism of the government’s bloody war on drugs.
“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,” De Lima said in a statement.
“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,” she added.
The DOJ on Friday 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 national penitentiary.
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.
“As expected, the DOJ today filed criminal charges against me with the RTC of Muntinlupa. My lawyers are already on top of the situation and will be filing the corresponding motions as soon as the cases are raffled to a specific branch,” De Lima said.
She noted that her looming imprisonment comes even as Solicitor General Jose Calida showed support for the release of alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, who is being linked to the P10 billion pork barrel scam.
“Perhaps my looming imprisonment based on false charges filed against me by the DOJ, while Janet Lim Napoles's release is being supported by the OSG, is the wakeup call that our country needs,” she said.
A top critic of President Duterte, De Lima also called filing of drug cases against her as “fascist” but assured that she will not bow down to the charges.
“Change has, indeed, come, and it has come to devour our sense of justice and morality -- where right is turned to wrong, and wrong is made right,” she said.
“Despite these fascist methods employed by this fascist regime, we will continue to fight this battle and wage our own war for human rights and democracy. In the end, justice will prevail and we will be vindicated,” she said.