>> Sunday, March 5, 2017

Alfred P. Dizon

Karma -- that is what happened to Sen. Leila de Lima, who was arrested Friday on drug trafficking charges, according to presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo.
He told a television interview De Lima is now experiencing what she did to then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo when she had her arrested even without an arrest warrant when she was Justice Secretary under the Aquino administration.
De Lima was ordered arrested by a judge who cited “sufficient probable cause.” At least Panelo said, under the Duterte government, De Lima was given “due process” before she was arrested.   
De Lima’s lawyer said the court issued the arrest warrant despite her pending motion for dismissal and deferment of issuance of arrest order while judicial determination of probable cause is ongoing.
Reacting to the arrest order on De Lima, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said “she will now have her day in court where she will have full opportunity to prove her claim of innocence.”
In the end, it will be the Supreme Court who will decide her fate.
While that day has not yet arrived, she will have to spend the  coming days of her life in a hot rat-infested cell since her case is unbailable.
De Lima, who has waged a decade-long crusade to expose President Rodrigo Duterte as the leader of death squads that have killed thousands of people insists the Duterte government manufactured the charges to silence her investigations into the killings allegedly orchestrated by Duterte during his time as mayor of Davao city, then for the past eight months as president.
Here are key moments in the battle between De Lima and Duterte as compiled by Agence France Press:
March 2009
De Lima, then head of the government's Commission on Human Rights, flies to Davao and begins a public inquiry into the alleged death squads.
"I am bothered by statements attributed to him (Duterte)... which tend to condone this phenomenon of illegal or vigilante-style killings," De Lima says at the inquiry.
Duterte responds: "If there is an iota of evidence that we are involved in the killings, I will submit to you, at the end of the day, my resignation as city mayor."
June 2012
The commission, after De Lima has stepped down to become justice secretary, finds that "there was a systematic practice of extrajudicial killings" in Davao.
De Lima orders the National Bureau of Investigation, which is part of her justice department, to launch a probe into the alleged death squads.
May 2016
Duterte is elected president after pledging during the campaign to kill 100,000 criminals. De Lima separately wins a seat in the Senate.
Days after the election, the justice ministry announces it has closed its investigation into the death squads because the last witness had fled a safe house run by the ministry's witness protection programme.
August 2016
Duterte accuses De Lima of running a drug trafficking ring with criminals inside the nation's biggest prison to help fund her Senate election campaign.
De Lima, as head of the Senate justice and human rights committee, launches public hearings on alleged extrajudicial killings in Duterte's drug war. A self-declared Davao Death Squad assassin testifies that he and others killed about 1,000 people from 1998-2013 on Duterte's orders. Duterte allies in the Senate depose De Lima as committee head days later.
September 2016
Several gang leaders at the country's main prison testify at the House of Representatives and repeat Duterte's allegations that De Lima and her driver-bodyguard engaged in drugs trafficking.
December 2016
The Senate drug war inquiry, now chaired by a Duterte ally, concludes the president and the state are not responsible for extrajudicial killings.
February 17, 2017
The justice department files drug trafficking charges against De Lima. Four days later she brands Duterte a "serial killer" and calls for people to show courage and oppose him.
February 24, 2017
De Lima is arrested.


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