World Bulletin / News Desk
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.
The government's human rights commission discovered a dozen men and women packed into the tiny cell behind a wooden cabinet during an unannounced visit to a police station in a Manila slum neighbourhood on Thursday.
South Korean military confirms another failed missile launch by reclusive neighbor
Failing to act risks 'catastrophic consequences', Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tells UN Security Council
Attorney general tells Supreme Court India will only talk to recognized political parties - ruling out independence leaders
Pakistan Air Force says modified JF-17 Thunder fighter jet will 'enhance advanced combat training'
American private shown leniency despite helping smuggle 4 kg of meth into South Korea
Comparisons with the characters of a popular Chinese television drama called "In the Name of the People" -- which also happens to be the slogan of French far-right candidate Marine Le Pen -- have flooded China's Twitter-like Weibo.
Diplomats in Manila said the other parties apparently refer to the United States and regional powers China, Japan and South Korea -- all key strategic players in the region.
Human Rights Watch said the incident was another sign of widespread rights abuse under Duterte's war on drugs, which has seen thousands of drug suspects killed either by policemen or mysterious vigilantes.
US-led NATO troops have been at war in Afghanistan since 2001, after the ousting of the Taliban regime for refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden following the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
The two countries have been in a security alliance since the 1950-53 Korean war, and more than 28,000 US troops are stationed in the South.
Security forces arrest nine others in nationwide operations, military says
Over 2,100 civilian casualties documented in the first quarter of 2017 by the global body
Concerns are growing that the semi-autonomous city's freedoms are under threat from Beijing, fuelling calls from some groups for greater autonomy or even a complete split from China.