De Lima granted medical furlough by Muntinlupa court

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
De Lima granted medical furlough by Muntinlupa court
In this photo taken Feb. 17, 2021, Sen. Leila de Lima attends the trial of the third drug case she is facing at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 256.
Office of Sen. Leila De Lima / release

MANILA, Philippines — A regional trial court in Muntinlupa City granted a five-day medical furlough to detained Sen. Leila de Lima who is scheduled to undergo a major surgery, citing medical and humanitarian reasons, a court order showed. 

De Lima's counsel earlier asked the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 204 to grant her a medical leave after she was advised by her ob-gyn in April to undergo a vaginal hysterectomy. During one of her routine check-ups this year, it was discovered that she had Stage 3 pelvic organ prolapse, thus requiring the surgery. 

Dr. Errol Santelices, her personal director, said the hysterectomy would be a major procedure which would require De Lima to be confined for at least five days at the Manila Doctors Hospital to observe her condition.

"Wherefore, for medical and humanitarian considerations and given the urgency of the matter, the motion is hereby granted. Accused Sen. De Lima is allowed to go on a medical furlough at Manila Doctors Hospital...at her own expense only for five days or a hundred and twenty hours, between 19 and 25 June 2022 for surgery and hospital confinement," the order read. 

A copy of the court order, signed by Presiding Judge Abraham Joseph Alcantara, was shared by De Lima's camp with reporters on Friday evening. 

The Muntinlupa court said the chief of the custodial service unit of Camp Crame, Quezon City, and police escorts will bring her to the hospital. 

Once the five days have lapsed, De Lima will return to her detention facility in Camp Crame. 

The outgoing senator has been detained for five years over conspiracy charges to commit illegal drug trading. She is accused in the proliferation of the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison during the time she was Justice Secretary. 

She has repeatedly denied the allegations. In 2021, a Muntinlupa court acquitted one of her cases after ruling that the prosecution did not present "strong evidence" to show she was guilty. She still faces two remaining drug charges. 

Earlier this year, three personalities, including a star witness of the government, retracted their allegations against De Lima, saying that their previous testimonies were false and made because they were threatened. 

These personalities are confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, prosecution witness and former Bureau of Corrections officer Rafael Ragos and De Lima's aide ronnie Dayan, who is also co-accused in one case. 

Despite the retractions, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has decided to adopt the position of the Justice department's panel of prosecutors to continue prosecuting her remaining drug cases. 

RELATED: De Lima 'frustrated' at Guevarra's decision to continue prosecuting her cases

De Lima mounted a bid to get another term in the Senate while she was in her cell, but failed to make it to the so-called "Magic 12" in this year's senatorial race. 






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