Muntinlupa courts allow US lawmakers to visit De Lima in detention facility

Two Muntinlupa courts have allowed American lawmakers to visit former Senator Leila de Lima at her detention facility in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

In separate orders, the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branches 204 and 256, which are handling De Lima’s two drug cases, granted her motion to allow the US lawmakers to visit her.

Former Senator Leila de Lima (Jonathan Hicap)

The US lawmakers who will visit De Lima are Senator Edward Markey and Reps. Alan Lowenthal, John Garamendi, Don Beyer and Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen. They were scheduled to visit De Lima on Friday, Aug. 19.

In his order, Presiding Judge Abraham Joseph Alcantara of the Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204 said that on Aug. 18, “De Lima and the US Congressional delegation were informed by the Philippine National Police Custodial Center that they cannot allow this visit because, allegedly, there was no court order to allow the same.”

"Wherefore, in view of the foregoing, the Extremely Urgent Motion Ex Abundanti Ad Cautelam is granted, subject to the visitation guidelines under PNP Memorandum Circular No. 2018-027, without prejudice to the liability of those visitors for any infraction punishable by law," Alcantara wrote in his order.

Presiding Judge Romeo Buenaventura of the Muntinlupa RTC Branch 256 wrote in his order: "Wherefore, premises considered, the instant motion is hereby granted,"

The Department of Justice’s panel of prosecutors did not object to the visit of the US delegation to De Lima.

De Lima has been detained since 2017 on charges of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading filed by the DOJ.