SENATOR Risa Hontiveros was merely creating "political drama" when she said democracy ends after her colleague, Senator Leila de Lima, had been arrested over drug charges, Malacañang Saturday.

"She is trying to create political drama where none exists. Perhaps, Ms. Risa should spend her social capital on better things. It's good that she is sober but her political understanding seems to be too colored," Abella told state-run dzRB.

De Lima is now detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City, in connection with her alleged involvement in illegal drug sale inside the New Bilibid Prison.

Hontiveros, who joined Senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV in expressing support to De Lima, said the arrest was merely an act of political persecution.

"By stopping at nothing to persecute Senator Leila, the state sends a chilling message to all – political dissent under this administration will not be tolerated. All those who will oppose will be destroyed," she said.

"I call on the people to exercise vigilance. I call on them to publicly express their strong disapproval of the blatant abuse of our justice system for political persecution… It was not Senator De Lima who is given up; it's the country’s democracy," Hontiveros added.

Abella said De Lima was arrested because of "criminal reasons and not for political reasons."

De Lima is facing three drug-related charges before a Muntinlupa court. (SunStar Philippines)