By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang is extending well-wishes to Senator Leila de Lima on her first year of being detained for drug charges.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, in a statement, said De Lima landing behind bars is proof that the criminal justice system in the Philippines is functioning.
“Let me first greet Senator Leila de Lima a happy anniversary,” Roque said this evening.
“Senator De Lima’s incarceration shows that the criminal justice system in the Philippines is alive, effective and working,” he added.
Roque also hailed De Lima as a symbol which shows that the Philippines “has become a narco-state with her election in office funded by drugs.”
“She is the mother of all drug lords by allowing the illegal drug trade to proliferate inside the National Bilibid Prison when she was the Department of Justice Secretary,” Roque said.
“Senator De Lima’s case is now pending in our courts. Let us therefore refrain from influencing the outcome of her case and just let the legal process proceed accordingly,” he added.
Last week, Malacañang slammed the Human Rights Watch (HRW) for its supposed interference in the domestic affairs of the Philippines, particularly the country’s justice system, after its call for the government to drop all charges against De Lima.
“We condemn this continued interference not only because it misleads the public, but because it mocks the integrity of our justice system,” Roque said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
Roque reiterated the Palace’s earlier position that De Lima is not a political prisoner but is behind bars for charges of criminal nature.
“Senator De Lima is being portrayed as a prisoner of conscience, a so-called martyr for justice. She is none of these,” he said.
“She is facing charges of criminal nature, plain and simple. Her arrest, following a competent and independent court’s finding of probable cause, strictly followed legal procedures,” he added.
De Lima is currently being detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame for her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) when she was still Justice secretary.