The Philippine police chief on Monday assured the European Parliament of the safety of a top critic of President Rodrigo Duterte who was arrested on illegal drug charges.

The European Parliament last week called for Senator Leila De Lima's release, saying that the charges against her were politically motivated, and asked the government to ensure her safety and fair trial.

De Lima has been detained at the national police headquarters since February 24 when she was arrested on allegations of taking bribes from drug convicts at the national penitentiary to allow them to continue their trade.

"We don't need to be reminded, we are really guarding her," said Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, national police chief. "We assure that she is safe and secured while in detention in Camp Crame."

Dela Rosa added that only the court could order De Lima's release. "It was the court that issued the warrant, which was based on evidence. They should ask the court about her release."

The Philippine government has told the European Parliament to "mind their own business" after it issued the joint motion calling for De Lima's release on March 16.

In the motion, the European Parliament also called on Philippine authorities to "immediately halt ongoing proceedings to reinstate the death penalty."

On Sunday, Duterte lashed out at the European Union during a speech before the Filipno community in Nay Pyi Taw on the first day of his visit to Myanmar.

"Do not impose your culture or your belief in what would be a government in this planet," he said. "Do not impose on other countries, especially us."

"Why are you trying to impose on us? Why don’t you mind your own business?" he added. "Why do you have to fuck with us, goddam it?"

On March 7, the House of Representatives voted to restore the death penalty for drug-related offences to support Duterte's aggressive campaign against narcotics, which has killed thousands.

The bill does not, however, make capital punishment mandatory for drug-related offences. It also excludes crimes that were punishable by death previously such as plunder, rape and treason.

The penalty would be carried out by hanging, firing squad or lethal injection.

The Senate also has to approve the bill before it can be signed into law by Duterte, who has called for the restoration of capital punishment.

The death penalty was abolished in the predominantly Catholic Philippines in 2006 under president Gloria Arroyo, now a member of the House who voted against its restoration.

The death penalty used to be carried out in the Philippines by lethal injection. It was last enforced in 1999 against a man convicted of raping his step-daughter.

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