By Jeffrey Damicog
The Department of Justice (DOJ) will not oppose before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) the appeal of detained Senator Leila de Lima to visit her ailing mother in Iriga City, Camarines Sur, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra assured.
“I will ask the prosecutors not to object for humanitarian reasons,” stated Guevarra.
De Lima is currently detained at the Custodial Center of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Camp Crame, Quezon City as she faces three drug charges filed by DOJ prosecutors before the RTC. She has been in detention since February 24, 2017 due to her alleged involvement in the proliferation of the illegal drugs trade at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
Recently, de Lima filed before the RTC a motion seeking furlough to go to Iriga City this August 15, or earlier, to visit her ailing 86-year-old mother, Norma Magistrado de Lima, perhaps for the last time.
This will be the farthest she has asked to be allowed to go to compared to the other furloughs she sought in the past.
In her motion, de Lima told the RTC she was informed just last August 8 that her mother was again hospitalized last August 4, and was in critical condition.
“Accused de Lima appeals to the utmost kind consideration of the Honorable Court, as a daughter who wants to be able to see and, perhaps, hold her mother close for the last time. As a daughter, she owes everything to the woman who gave her life and, in her present predicament, the only way she could show her deepest love and appreciation for her mother’s love and care over the last 60 years is to be with her in her last moments on earth,” she appealed in her motion.
The lawmaker indicated that her mother’s doctors have “advised against prescribing or administering more drugs considering Mrs. de Lima’s advanced aged and extremely weakened condition, which, according to her doctors, may cause her to expire any time soon.”
Since her arrest, de Lima noted she had only seen her mother only twice, first on December 23, 2018 when the latter visited her in Camp Crame; and last June 16 during the thanksgiving dinner of the senator’s son, Vincent Joshua De Lima Bohol, who passed the Bar.
De Lima disclosed her mother has been diagnosed with dementia and the family deemed that “the long journey from Iriga City to Quezon City made regular visits not feasible.”
“For most of her detention, or for nearly two years before the first (and only) visit of Mrs. De Lima, Accused De Lima was not able to see her mother because their family deemed it wise not to inform her of the true reason for Accused De Lima’s absence from family gatherings, since finding out that her daughter has been arrested and detained might accelerate the decline of her health,” the motion stated.