MANILA, Philippines — Senator Leila De Lima’s imprisonment is “proof” that the government does not only target the poor in its war against illegal drugs, Malacañang said Thursday.
“Unang una po, wanted si Peter Lim, wala po siyang kalayaan,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing following reports that suspected drug lord Peter Lim has slipped out of the Philippines.
(First of all, Peter Lim is wanted, he’s not free.)
“Pangalawa po, nakakulong po si Senator Leila de Lima, proof na hindi lang po mahihirap ang tinatarget dito sa war on drugs,” he added.
(Second, Senator Leila de Lima is in jail, proof that not only the poor are being targeted in the war on drugs.)
Roque was reacting to a query on whether the war on drugs only targets the poor after Lim reportedly fled the country while the drug suspects in the marginalized sector end up being dead or jailed.
De Lima, a staunch critic of the Duterte administration, has been detained since February 2017 for drug-related charges which she has vehemently denied.
She has since been acquitted in one of three drug cases over her alleged involvement in a conspiracy to promote drug trade at the New Bilibid Prisons.
Roque, meanwhile, said there is still no confirmation about Lim leaving the Philippines. This, despite Interior Secretary Eduardo Año saying the suspected drug lord might have already left the country.
“Wala pa naman pong kumpirmasyon po yan. Dahil ang sabi po ng ating Department of Justice, na under po ang Immigration, wala po silang record na nakalabas po si Peter Lim,” Roque said.
(There is still no confirmation of that. Because according to the Department of Justice where the Immigration is a part of, they don’t have a record that Peter Lim went out of the country.)
“Pero nonetheless, nasa watchlist naman po ng Interpol si Peter Lim. At saka I’m sure po na gagawa ng hakbang ang DOJ to cancel his passport and to make sure na because he has no travel documentation, that wherever he may be kung abroad man siya e maalerto yung mga receiving state kung nasasaan siya,” he went on.
(Nonetheless, Peter Lim is on Interpol’s watchlist. I’m sure the DOJ will take steps to cancel his passport and make sure that wherever he may be abroad, the receiving state will be alerted since he has no travel documentation.)