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Duterte to De Lima: 'Face the music'

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"I have long prepared myself to be the first political prisoner under this regime, because the criminal charges and prosecution are nothing less than a politically motivated act by the Duterte regime to clamp down on any vocal opposition against its support for a policy of EJK in dealing with suspected criminals".

The Court of Appeals (CA) has denied the plea of Senator Leila De Lima for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Department of Justice (DOJ) from acting on the drug trafficking complaints filed against her.

Ms De Lima has strongly rejected the allegations.

"Mere allegations of the existence of the above-named requisites, absent of proof, can not be the basis for the issuance of an injunctive writ", read the resolution penned by Associate Justice Nina Antonio-Valenuela and Associate Justices Romeo Barza and Edwin Sorongon. "It must be proven that the violation sought to be prevented would cause an irreparable injury", the CA said.

The CA said that "mere allegations of the existence of the above named requisites, absent proof, can not be the basis for the issuance of an injunctive writ".

De Lima has staunchly denied the charges and said her lawyers were ready.

The CA ordered the DOJ to comment on the petition.

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The CA also took note of De Lima's Urgent Motion to Resolve Application for Provisional Reliefs, and her Supplemental Urgent Motion to Resolve Application for Provisional Reliefs.

Justice Minister Vitaliano Aguirre said three charges had been filed against Ms De Lima, her driver and a number of other people.

She also argued the Ombudsman, not the DOJ, has the sole jurisdiction to conduct preliminary investigations against former or incumbent government officials.

Prosecutors alleged de Lima, while she was justice secretary under President Benigno Aquino, received huge bribes from detained drug lords to finance her senatorial campaign past year, and they say some of the drug lords would testify against her.

The senator allegedly received money from cartel leaders inside the prison in exchange for protection during her term as Justice secretary.

Completing respondents in the charge sheet are former Bucor Colonel Wilfredo Eli, New Bilibid Prison (NBP) high profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian and the senator's former security detail Joenel Sanchez.

Thousands of mostly suspected drug users and small-time drug peddlers have died since then, and human rights groups have urged independent investigations of whether some of those killed were victims of state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings.

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