Leila de Lima: Top Duterte critic arrested on drug charge

A leading critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Leila de Lima, has been arrested on drug trafficking charges.

Senator Leila de Lima is accused of receiving money from detained drug lords.

She has insisted on her innocence and says the charges are an attempt to silence her criticism of Mr Duterte's war against drugs.

She had spent the night in the Senate in Manila to evade arrest on Thursday.

But on Friday morning she surrendered to police, telling reporters: "It is my honour to be imprisoned for the things I am fighting for.

"They will not be able to silence me and stop me from fighting for the truth and justice and against the daily killings and repression by the Duterte regime."

Ms de Lima's charges stem from when she was a justice minister between 2010 and 2016.

She is accused of abetting the drug trade by extorting money from inmates in the notorious New Bilibid Prison, who in turn raised money by trafficking drugs within the jail.

Ms de Lima has been one of the most vocal critics of Mr Duterte and his brutal nationwide drug war, launched in July last year. More than 7,000 people have been killed.

Critics say the president has encouraged police, vigilantes and mercenaries to shoot suspected drug dealers and users on sight, but the president continues to enjoy a high level of support among Filipinos.

Mr Duterte has defiantly defended the crackdown, saying the country is plagued by drugs and that police were only authorised to open fire when threatened by suspects