Muntinlupa courts approve Senator De Lima’s request to undergo major operation

Two Muntinlupa courts have granted detained Senator Leila de Lima’s "extreme urgent motion for medical furlough" for five days to allow her to undergo a major operation.

In separate decisions dated June 15, the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branches 204 and 256, which are handling the senator’s two drug cases, approved her request to undergo operation at the Manila Doctors Hospital.

Senator Leila de Lima at the Muntinlupa Hall of Justice (Contributed photo)

In the court orders, it was revealed that during her medical checkup last April 5, De Lima "was diagnosed with Pelvic Organ Prolapse Stage 3 and was advised to undergo Vaginal Hysterectomy with Anterior and Posterior Colporrhaphy at the soonest possible time.”

Pelvic organ prolapse, according to the Mayo Clinic website, is “when the muscles and ligaments supporting a woman's pelvic organs weaken, the pelvic organs can drop lower in the pelvis, creating a bulge in the vagina (prolapse). Women most commonly develop pelvic organ prolapse years after childbirth, after a hysterectomy or after menopause.” The pelvic organs are the uterus, vagina, cervix, bladder, urethra, and rectum.

Vaginal hysterectomy, meanwhile, “is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus through the vagina.”

Stage 3 of the prolapse means that “pelvic floor organs have fallen to, or beyond the opening of the vagina,” according to the US-based National Association For Continence website.

According to the order of the Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204, Dr. Errol Santelices, the senator’s personal physician, recommended that considering that it will be a major surgery, her age, medical history and overall health condition, De Lima should be confined for at least 120 hours, or five days, “in order to fully observe and evaluate the status of her recovery, and to assess if her heart condition is being affected” because she had a mild stroke in April 2021.

Presiding Judge Abraham Joseph Alcantara of the Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204 ruled that “for medical and humanitarian considerations and given the urgency of the matter, the motion is hereby granted.”

“Accused Senator De Lima is allowed to go on a medical furlough at Manila Doctors Hospital, Kalaw Avenue, Manila at her own expense only for five (5) days, or a hundred and twenty (120) hours, between 19 and 25 June 2022 for surgery and hospital confinement as recommended by Dr. Santelices in his notarized affidavit dated 07 June 2022,” the judge stated.

Presiding Judge Romeo Buenaventura of the Muntinlupa RTC Branch 256 also granted De Lima’s request and ordered the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame to “bring accused to the Manila Doctors Hospital on June 19 to 23, 2022 for said medical procedure.”

Buenaventura’s order also stated “that no media or any form of video coverage, interviews or press statements shall be given or entertained during the course of the furlough by the accused, her family members, lawyers or representatives.”

After five days, De Lima will be escorted back to her custodial facility in Camp Crame.