By Hader Glang
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines
A fierce critic of President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs has been slapped with charges under the Philippines’ Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act -- charges she vehemently denies.
The Justice Department filed the charges Friday at a court in Metro Manila, accusing Senator Leila De Lima over the alleged proliferation of illegal drugs inside the national penitentiary during her term as justice secretary in 2010-2015.
Duterte told reporters in the southern city of Davao on Friday that De Lima has to face the music.
He called the case against her strong, as it took months and several witnesses to develop, said GMA News online.
De Lima’s former driver-bodyguard, and several others, including ex-top officials of government agencies and a high-profile inmate, were also hit with charges with sentences of 12 years to life imprisonment.
Ahead of the charges, De Lima called herself a victim of political persecution, saying she has long prepared herself to be the first “political prisoner” under the Duterte administration.
De Lima sought a Senate probe on the alleged extrajudicial killings and summary executions in the country amid the Duterte administration's war on drugs, which has been blamed for the deaths of over 7,000 people, mostly drug suspects.