Earlier today, Judge Juanita Guerrero of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court issued a warrant of arrest against Senator Leila De Lima, her former driver Ronnie Dayan, and former Bureau of Corrections chief Rafael Ragos. This is in connection to the trio’s alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade at the National Bilibid Prison when De Lima was still Justice Secretary, which was from 2010 to 2015.
For understandable reasons, De Lima’s supporters in the Liberal Party as well as non-partisan observers like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International described the charges as politically motivated since she has emerged as a top critic of the Duterte administration’s conduct of the War on Drugs.
It’s quite ironic though that it is now De Lima’s turn to complain about political persecution. Let’s look back at how she handled the electoral sabotage case of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo six years ago:
*She refused to let Arroyo travel overseas to seek medical treatment for her spinal problem DESPITE a Supreme Court order allowing her to do so, citing the different cases filed against her.
*The judge that got the case, Jesus Mupas, issued an arrest warrant against Arroyo just four hours after receiving the case.
*Eight months later, the same judge allowed Arroyo to post bail because the evidence in the case is weak.
*All but two cases filed against Arroyo were dismissed even when Noynoy Aquino was still president.
Now, it will be up to the courts to decide the merits of the case against De Lima and her alleged lackeys. What we can emphasize though is that she can’t whine about being subjected to political persecution now given that she and her allies were also guilty of it when they had their chance.
Now, can folks at Malacanang stop themselves from overplaying their hand? The Duterte administration has already done more to make De Lima sympathetic than she can ever hope to do for herself. For a significant chunk of the public, the senator’s public reputation has now been destroyed from being an accomplished human rights lawyer-turned-legislator into a homewrecking slut.