Duterte denies hand in De Lima's cases, promises her safety

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(File photos) President Rodrigo Duterte (L), and Sen. Leila De Lima (R)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Despite his frequent tirades against Senator Leila De Lima in recent months, President Rodrigo Duterte denied having a hand in the senator's case involving her alleged involvement in illegal drugs.

The President said he never interfered with the charges now lodged against De Lima before a local court.

"Honestly I have not called Aguirre once. Yan ang totoo, I do not interfere with their jobs!" Duterte told reporters during a chance interview at Malacañang on Monday.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed three separate drug cases against De Lima before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court on Feb. 17.

This led to the issuance of an arrest warrant against the senator and her detention at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center.

Also read: Court orders law enforcement agencies to arrest De Lima, et al

President Duterte said he would rather not comment on the pending cases.

"We leave it to the judgement if the nation to see who is lying and who is not...I leave it to the courts," Duterte said.

De Lima safe in detention

President Duterte also guaranteed De Lima's safety in detention.

He said the senator has nothing to fear.

"I assure (her) that she is safe. I think people are interested not to see her death but to see her in prison for what she did," the President added.

When asked if he has a message for the senator, he said, "She can always pray, the truth will come out eventually if there is another truth."

Look: De Lima's arrest on drug charges

Meantime, the President said he is not going after Senator Antonio Trillanes next.

"He's too insignificant to bother (with)," said Duterte.

During a pro-Duterte rally over the weekend, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre asked the crowd who sould be jailed next.

To which the crowd responded, shouting, "Trillanes!"

Also read: De Lima takes case to Supreme Court, questions legality of arrest