A PARTY-LIST representative believes that the filing of charges and subsequent arrest of Sen. Leila de Lima were meant to silence political opponents of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“It’s pure harassment. Kung ebidensya lang, wala gyud sila’y ebidensya (They have no evidence),” said Akbayan Rep. Tomasito “Tom” Villarin, who visited Cebu yesterday to launch a signature campaign against the proposed revival of the death penalty and the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to nine years old.

Both proposals are being pushed by congressmen allied with President Duterte.

Villarin said that aside from Senator de Lima, he and other lawmakers who belong to the opposition also face political harassment by some of President Duterte’s allies in the House. He said that some members of the “supermajority” have been warned that they would be removed from their committee positions if they wouldn’t support the administration’s agenda.

Nahimo na na nila ron. Mao nang naa’y panghulga ug pinuwersahay (They are doing that now. They’re threatening and strong-arming us). They even violated some of our House rules to push their agenda,” he said.

Akbayan has been allied with the Liberal Party, which was in power from 2010-2016 and fielded de Lima in May 2016.