MANILA, Philippines — Detained Sen. Leila De Lima on Sunday penned a letter anew denouncing the gag order lodged against her.
De Lima’s message decrying the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court’s (RTC) prohibition to discuss her drug cases was written in a paper with a seal of the Senate of the Philippines.
In her handwritten letter, De Lima said gagging her would be a violation of her rights. The scanned copy of her handwritten letter dated March 5, was sent to the media on Sunday.
“I refused to be gagged,” the senator wrote.
“They cannot continue violating my rights. I shall continue to speak up on issues that matter,” she added.
The Muntinlupa City RTC ordered De Lima, her legal counsels, prosecutors and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to stop discussing the case in public. The gag order stemmed from De Lima’s written letter addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte and the Philippine National Police (PNP) last Friday.
De Lima criticized Duterte and the PNP for denying that killings of suspected drug offenders were state-sponsored.
Malacañang supported the gag order saying it is normal to impose such an order to prevent trial by publicity.
Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said it should be implemented to prevent De Lima from further destroying Duterte. De Lima cited this statement in her latest letter and even described Panelo as “comical” and flamboyant.”
“Such reinforces my belief that the things being done to me, especially my detention, are primarily aimed at stifling my criticisms against this murderous and vindictive President,” De Lima said.
“I repeat—I CANNOT BE SILENCED,” she concluded.