By: Ed Margareth Barahan - @inquirerdotnetINQUIRER.net / 07:21 PM March 01, 2017
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella called the attention of CNN International on Wednesday on its report calling the arrest of Sen. Leila de Lima “smacked of political persecution.”
“For the record, a lower court ordered the arrest of Senator De Lima for drug trafficking charges and for allegedly receiving money from drug dealers at the National Penitentiary,” Abella said.
“All these nefarious activities were said to have been conducted by the Senator when she served as Secretary of Justice (2010-2015) during the Aquino administration,” he added.
Abella said that the court found a “sufficient probable cause for the issuance of the warrants of arrest” against the senator, along with Rafael Ragos and her former driver, Ronnie Dayan, who were accused of collecting money from drug lords for De Lima’s senatorial bid.
De Lima, who was arrested last week, has been a vocal critic of President Rodigo Duterte’s war on drugs. It was she who initiated the Senate probe on alleged extrajudicial killings in the country since Duterte assumed office.
“To even insinuate that 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,” Abella said.
He also noted that cases of Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla, and Jinggoy Estrada – three senators who were jailed in 2014 for plunder charges. “Not one of them had the temerity to invoke political persecution,” he said.
“We challenge CNN International to provide the proper context in its telecasts in the interest of fairness and truthfulness in reporting,” he added.
The said TV report was aired on Wednesday. /atm