MANILA - Senator Leila de Lima on Monday defended her record as a former justice secretary, insisting that she never used her post to persecute critics of the previous administration.
De Lima said she filed cases against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as well as lawmakers tagged in the P10 billion pork barrel scam based on strong evidence.
"Hindi po ako nag-aabuso sa aking posisyon. Kung ano man po ang mga ginawa ko noon na mga paggawa ng aking trabaho, pag-fulfill ng aking mandate, ginawa ko lang po solely because iyun ang dapat gawin, base sa kaso, base sa mga ebidensya," she told radio DZMM.
"Wala po akong kino-commit na acts of persecution. Hindi ko po iyun style. Hindi po ako nag-abuso ng aking kapangyarihan bilang secretary of justice."
(I don't abuse my power, whatever I did was in line with my work and fulfilling my mandate. I did it solely because it was the right thing to do, and was based on the case and evidence. I did not commit acts of persecution. That was not my style. I never abused my power as secretary of justice.)
De Lima has repeatedly accused her successor, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, of pursuing drug charges against her on the alleged order of President Rodrigo Duterte in retaliation for her criticisms of the war against drugs.
The justice department last week filed 3 drug trafficking cases against De Lima based on the testimonies of high-profile inmates who claimed the senator accepted drug payoffs when she was still justice secretary.
A judge will decide whether to issue a warrant for her arrest once the case is raffled to a court.
De Lima appealed for a careful study of her case before an arrest warrant is issued for her, especially since her lawyers are still set to question the court's jurisdiction to handle the charges, instead of the Office of the Ombudsman.
The senator added that she will not go into hiding, but appealed for authorities to guarantee her safety under the looming arrest.
"Ako naman po ay hindi humihingi ng any special o VIP treatment. Ang hinihingi ko lang po ay siguruhin ang aking seguridad, ang aking safety," she said.
"Hinding-hindi po ako magtatago, hindi po ako tatakas dahil malinis po ang aking konsensya."
(I am not asking for any special or VIP treatment. All I'm asking is that they ensure my security and safety. I will never hide, I will not flee because my conscience is clear.)