Duterte Critic Leila de Lima Arrested

The testimonies at the hearings were used as the basis of charges filed against De Lima and spearheaded by Duterte's fraternity brother, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, who alleged that the senator used the drug money to fund her senatorial campaign a year ago.

Meanwhile, President Duterte has let the Philippine National Police (PNP) decide on the resumption of its anti-illegal drug operations.

On Friday morning, police picked up De Lima from the Senate and brought her to Camp Crame.

"The pile of bodies in the Duterte government's war on drugs; arrests and killings of political activists; renewed push for death penalty, and militarization of communities affecting women and children is nothing but a U-turn to full-blown fascism", she said.

Responding to the accusation, a defiant de Lima said her arrest was an "an appalling sign of the return of a power-hungry, morally bankrupt and abusive government".

Judge Juanita Guerrero of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court issued the warrant for De Lima's arrest on Thursday, a week after the charges were filed against her.

De Lima's arrest would send "a chilling message" that political dissent under Duterte would not be tolerated and "all those who will oppose will be destroyed", Hontiveros said. "It is already the property of the court by virtue of a warrant", he added.

"Why did you sell your soul?" a white-haired man in a black shirt said, jabbing his finger at one of the Duterte supporters and telling him the president was "responsible" for drug-related murders.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella called the arrest "a major step forward in the administration's drugs war".

Exactly how many times can they foist this propaganda line to the rest of the Filipinos without it wearing too thin and losing its currency to the public, who are now watching how the President and his people will handle De Lima's detention and prosecution. "I am now motivated more than ever to expose him for being a plunderer and mass murderer that he truly is", he said.

Ms.de Lima, who served as justice secretary under President Benigno Aquino III, has long criticized Mr. Duterte's often bloody antidrug drive, dating back to when he was mayor of Davao City in the. He also vowed to resign if Trillanes could prove that he has even half a billion in his bank accounts. She questioned why the court suddenly issued the arrest order when it was scheduled Friday to hear her petition to void the three non-bailable charges.

Senator Leila de Lima, 57, told reporters moments before she was taken to jail that "it is my honour to be imprisoned for the things I am fighting for...please pray for me". Those charges should also have been investigated by the Ombudsman, not the justice department.

Vanessa Coleman