SC Justice Carpio: De Lima drug charges 'pure invention'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 14) — A Supreme Court judge on Friday hit accusations of illegal drug trade directed at Sen. Leila De Lima, calling the charges "blatantly a pure invention."

In his 39-page dissenting opinion on the high court's decision not to nullify De Lima's arrest, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio criticized the senator's continued detention, saying the charges against De Lima lacked key elements for drug accusations.

READ: Supreme Court dismisses De Lima's petition to nullify arrest on drug charges

"The accusation of illegal trade of drugs against petitioner is blatantly a pure invention," Carpio said. "This Court, the last bulwark of democracy and liberty in the land, should never countenance such a fake charge," he added.

De Lima, one of President Rodrigo Duterte's staunchest critics, was arrested in February over her supposed involvement in the New Bilibid Prison drug trade as Justice Secretary from 2010 to 2015.

Last Tuesday, The Supreme Court, voting 9 to 6, dismissed De Lima's petition to void her arrest, citing "lack of merit."

Carpio, one of the six magistrates who voted to grant the petition, said the charges filed against De Lima detailed direct bribery, not related to drugs.

"Not a single essential element of this particular offense is alleged in the information (complaint). What the information actually charges is the bailable offense of direct bribery," he said.

He said charges of bribery do not fall against the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court that issued the Senator's warrant of arrest, but under the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.

"To allow the continued detention of the petitioner under this Information is one of the grossest injustices ever perpetrated in recent memory in full view of the Filipino nation and the entire world," Carpio said.

De Lima has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame since the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 204 ordered her arrest on February 24.

Following the dismissal of her petition on Tuesday, De Lima said Wednesday the SC's decision legitimized political persecution and added her lawyers will file a motion for reconsideration.

READ: De Lima cites 'political persecution' in SC ruling