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Aguirre '99% sure' De Lima won't be killed in jail

SAFETY ISSUES. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II assures his fiercest critic, Senator Leila de Lima, of safety if she is detained.

SAFETY ISSUES. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II assures his fiercest critic, Senator Leila de Lima, of safety if she is detained.

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II allayed the fears of Senator Leila de Lima that she might become another victim of an extrajudicial killing if she would be put in jail.

Aguirre assured the senator, the fiercest critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, that she would be protected wherever she will be detained.

"Definitely, she will be safe kung saan man (wherever she is jailed). She will," Aguirre told reporters after his confirmation hearing on Wednesday, February 15.

He said he is 99% sure about that. Directly asked if De Lima might get killed, he said: "Wala naman siguro (I don't think so). I'm sure, 99%."

Asked for her reaction, De Lima questioned why there is still a 1% chance that she might die in jail.

"Eh di may 1% [chance] pa? Siguraduhin lang 'yung security kasi ano na 'yan eh, foregone conclusion na 'yan ang gagawin nila (So there's still a 1% chance? Security should be guaranteed because what they would do, it's a foregone conclusion)," De Lima said, referring to the killings.

Expecting her arrest anytime soon, De Lima earlier requested that she be put in a "safe and secure" detention place.

She cited the case of former Albuera mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr, who was killed while inside a Leyte jail.

"Sakali lang po mangyari na, God forbid, sana ilagay naman ako sa isang lugar na safe and secure ako. Kasi marami na hong nangyayari 'di ba, pinapapatay sa loob ng selda, so what is another EJK?" De Lima had said.

(If ever it happens, God forbid, I hope they put me in a place that is safe and secure. Because there are many things happening, many people are killed inside prison. So what is another EJK?) – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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