De Lima asks court for urgent furlough as mom fights for life

Lian Buan
De Lima asks court for urgent furlough as mom fights for life
(3rd UPDATE) Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra says the Department of Justice will not object

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Detained opposition Senator Leila de Lima has filed a very urgent motion for furlough asking the court to allow her to visit her mother who is fighting for her life in a hospital in Iriga City, Camarines Sur.

De Lima asked the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) to grant her a furlough on August 15 or “as soon as possible so that she could see her mother, possibly 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,” the motion said.

The Department of Justice prosecutors will not object, said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

“I will ask the prosecutors not to object for humanitarian reasons,” Guevarra told reporters Friday night, August 9.

De Lima’s mother Norma has been suffering from dementia. The senator said that she only saw her mother twice since her arrest and detention in February 2017.

According to the motion, De Lima’s mother was brought to the Villanueva Tanchuling General Hospital in Iriga on August 4.

The physician deemed her condition as critical and is said to be expected to further quickly deteriorate.”

“Further, family members were told that, because of her advanced age and overall declining health, they do not think that administering more drugs would do much good, and that, all things considered, Mrs De Lima is not expected to linger much longer,” the motion said.

In a written dispatch from Camp Crame, De Lima asked for prayers for her mother.

De Lima is detained in Camp Crame for 3 counts of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade pending before the Muntinlupa RTC.

De Lima’s mother still didn’t know that the senator has been detained for drug charges.

The family initially decided to keep De Lima’s detention from Norma, but in December 2018, she was taken to Camp Crame to see her daughter. She had been diagnosed wth dementia then.

”They finally told her I’m in Camp Crame. But her state of dementia failed to grasp the real import of such a revelation. It blocked her from reality, with all its pains,” De Lima had said of that moment. 

Meanwhile, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan expressed strong support for  De Lima’s very urgent motion for furlough. 

“We urge the court to show compassion and grant this on the basis of humanitarian considerations,” Pangilinan said. “Sana ay tingnan ito ng hukom mula sa pananaw ng isang anak na matagal nang hindi nakikita ang kanyang maysakit na ina.” (We hope the courts view this from the perspective of a child who has not seen her sick mother for a long time.) 

“Malubha ang karamdaman ng ina ni Senator Leila de Lima. Hinihimok natin ang korte na bigyan ng pagkakataon si Senator de Lima na samahan ang kanyang ina habang nakikipaglaban para sa kanyang buhay sa ospital.” (Senator De Lima’s mother is gravely ill. We urge the court to give Senator De Lima a chance to visit her mother who is battling for her life.)

Pangilinan cited instances when the courts granted furloughs so that detainees may visit their relatives. In 2007, former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, who was then detained for plunder, was allowed to visit his mother, Mary Ejercito. Murder defendant and former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Zaldy Ampatuan was even allowed to attend his daughter’s wedding in August 2018. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.