PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Friday criticized Senator Leila de Lima, who is detained over illegal drug charges, for portraying herself as a "prisoner of conscience."
In an interview aired on state-run PTV4, Duterte insisted that De Lima allowed the illegal drugs to proliferate inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) when she headed the Department of Justice from 2010 to 2015.
"The case of De Lima [in relation to illegal drugs] is real," the President said.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday voted 9-6 to junk De Lima's petition to dismiss the drug-related cases charged against her.
In October 2016, Duterte alleged that De Lima was the "manager" in the illegal drug trade in the national penitentiary.
Duterte's so-called narco-list identified De Lima as the top government official allegedly involved in the drug transactions inside the NBP.
The President reiterated that the senator's previous "adulterous" affair with her former driver, Ronnie Dayan, paved way for her involvement in illegal drugs sale inside the state penitentiary.
Dayan was the alleged bagman of De Lima who was collecting the drug money from the illicit transactions inside the NBP. The money was purportedly used to finance De Lima's senatorial campaign in 2016.
"Her case started because of her [former] driver and lover. Her driver [had] a connection [and] developed ties inside and started to make money eventually swallowed by De Lima," the President said.
"Then she's claiming she's a prisoner of conscience. Would you believe it's invented?... Do not blame anybody. Frankly speaking, on this planet, it's your life. You are responsible for all what's happening in your life," he added.
De Lima has been detained at the Philippine National Police custodial center in Quezon City since February. (SunStar Philippines)