CARTOON: Philippines Senator 'Will Rot in Jail' - Duterte

CARTOON: Philippines Senator 'Will Rot in Jail' - Duterte
Photo Credit: Stellina Chen

What you need to know

'There is no doubt that our president is a murderer and a sociopathic serial killer,' said Philippine Senator Leila de Lima before being arrested on Feb. 24.

Philippines Senator Leila de Lima, a former human rights commissioner and prominent critic of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs,” was arrested on Feb. 24. She is being accused of violating the Dangerous Drugs Act when serving as justice secretary from 2010 to 2015. De Lima will face between 12 years to life in prison if convicted.

The senator’s charges were filed by the Justice Department, which is headed by Secretary of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre II, a classmate of Duterte’s during law school.

De Lima has maintained she is not involved in the drug trade and said in a statement, "If they think that by jailing me, I will turn my back on my principles, they are mistaken. Instead, they have encouraged me more to pursue truth and justice."

Duterte’s war with de Lima kicked-off back in 2009 when the senator started investigating the alleged extrajudicial killings of an estimated 1,000 drug suspects during Duterte’s time as mayor of Davao.

The senator said she would be watching out for the president and his “anti-human rights policies,” while Duterte warned de Lima to “not pick a fight with me, you will lose.” The president has also repeatedly said the senator will “rot in jail.”

Regarding de Lima’s arrest, Phelim Kine, Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director, says, “By arresting Senator Leila de Lima on politically motivated drug charges, President Duterte is effectively expanding his ‘drug war’ from the urban poor to the legislative branch of the government.”

There have been over 7,000 deaths linked to Duterte’s “war on drugs” from July 1, 2016 to Jan. 31, 2017. Thousands gathered in Manila on Feb. 18 to protest the extrajudicial killings. It was the biggest rally yet against the killings and de Lima also attended.


Editor: Olivia Yang