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The party also said it feared for De Lima's life once she was arrested, citing the police killing of another politician, Rolando Espinosa, inside a jail cell in November past year after he was arrested on drug charges.

Vice-President Leni Robredo, who belongs to the same party as the senator, described the arrest as "political harassment".

She called on the public to "scrutinize this case religiously".

In 2016, a self-reported Duterte assassin appeared before de Lima at a Senate panel headed by the 57-year-old politician.

Abella also affirmed that De Lima "will have the opportunity to defend herself and prove her innocence".

"It's a criminal case filed against her".

"It's not political persecution", Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said. De Lima continuously criticized how the administration handled the crackdown of drug trafficking in the country.

"These are all lies", she said of the charges.

VP Robredo with the Liberal Party officials and former lawmakers like former congressmen Erin Tañada and Neil Tupas attended the forum to commemorate the EDSA People Power Revolution.

She was accused of drugs offences just weeks after opening an investigation into alleged extrajudicial killings sanctioned by Duterte in August past year.

After the incident, Sebastian agreed to become one of the government witnesses against De Lima.

The arrest comes as the Senate prepares to hear testimonies of a retired police officer, who corroborated numerous claims made by the self-confessed hitman against Mr Duterte.

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"The haste is deplorable", they said in a statement, noting the judge just came from a trip to Macau and could not possibly have studied the "thick" motion to quash De Lima filed last Monday.

She lamented she was not able to see her family, particularly her two sons, even as she appealed to the CIDG to move the arrest for a few more hours because she did not feel safe being arrested at night. "She's ready to face the consequences of her beliefs and her actions", he said.

De Lima arrived at Muntinlupa RTC at 11:10 a.m. on board a coaster.

She worked as a law clerk for the House of Representatives and as a legal aide of a Supreme Court associate justice, while building a successful law practice that specialised in helping prominent politicians in election court challenges.

Another vocal Duterte critic, Sen. Moreover, they fear for De Lima's life.

"The effect to me is exactly the opposite".

Trillanes also called Duterte a mass murderer.

Another LP stalwart, Sen.

This on top of hundreds of political prisoners collected mostly under the previous administration, he said.

Aguirre II (left) and National Bureau of Investigation Director Dante A. Gierran display almost 1 metric ton of seized methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, at a news conference in Manila on December 27, 2016. Leila de Lima and other officials who have been charged by Department of Justice prosecutors with receiving bribes from detained drug lords.

"From the very beginning, I knew that this regime would not seek true justice".