Malacañang on Wednesday called out an international news organization for airing a report saying the arrest of Senator Leila de Lima smacked of political persecution.
"To even insinuate that (Senator Leila) de Lima's arrest is political in nature contradicts established facts and mocks the country's commitment to due process and the rule of law," said presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella in a statement, refuting a television report by CNN International.
Abella said it was a lower court that ordered De Lima's arrest on drug-trafficking charges, specifically allegations she was receiving money from drug dealers at New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
The court also found sufficient probable cause for issuing De Lima a warrant of arrest, along with correctional official Rafael Marcos Ragos and De Lima's driver, Ronnie Dayan, Abella said.
Abella also compared De Lima to three former senators facing plunder charges — Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla, and Jinggoy Estrada — none of whom had "the temerity to invoke political persecution."
"We challenge CNN International to provide the proper context in its telecasts in the interest of fairness and truthfullness in reporting," Abella said.
At the time this story was being written, CNN International had not issued a reply to Malacañang's comments.