Muntinlupa court allows De Lima to visit ailing mother
Marje Pelayo • August 14, 2019 • 270
MANILA, Philippines – The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court on Wednesday (August 14) granted detained Senator Leila De Lima’s motion for furlough to visit her ailing mother in Iriga City.
The Muntinlupa (RTC) Branches 205 and 206 has given De Lima 48 hours including travel time from August 14 to 15 to see her mother Norma Magistrado De Lima at the hospital and to visit their residence in Iriga City.
“PNP Chief Director Oscar Albayalde or his representative, in coordination with the Sheriff of this Court shall provide adequate personal escorts and security measures in all movements and disposition of accused De Lima,” the court order reads.
The courts said De Lima shall shoulder all expenses related the furlough and the lady senator needs to back at the PNP Custodial Center on August 16.
Senator De Lima is currently facing drug-related charges for her alleged involvement in illegal drugs trade inside the New Bilibid Prison during her time as Justice Secretary. – MNP (with inputs from Mai Bermudez)
Senate President Vicente Sotto III expressed his support to the resolution filed by Senators Franklin Drilon and Panfilo Lacson to allow Senator Leila de Lima to join them in the plenary session thru teleconferencing.
Lacson said they have ready equipment for that purpose.
It is the same equipment that the Senate used during then-Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s term when Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was allowed to join the Senate sessions while in detention.
Once the resolution is approved, De Lima will be able to interpellate in the plenary and file her proposed amendments on existing laws.
De Lima, however, will not be allowed to vote as Senate rules dictate that a senator must be physically present in the plenary to vote.
The lady senator, nevertheless, considered this news a welcome development.
“Great news! Answered prayers. I’ve been longing to be given such privilege so I can more meaningfully fulfill my mandate,” she said.
De Lima’s camp said they still need to seek clearance from the Philippine National Police (PNP) for this.
Atty. Raymond Baguilat, De Lima’s counsel, said: “Ang rules ng PNP regarding sa mga tao sa custodial ayun nga, bawal ang electronic gadget. So, lahat yan kailangan ng approval ng PNP so iaakyat yan kay Gen. Albayalde [Among the PNP’s rules regarding personalities in the custodial facility is that electronic gadgets are not allowed. So, we need the approval of the PNP and this has to be elevated to Gen. Albayalde].”
Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission chairperson Dante Jimenez, however, is doubtful that this will be allowed by the court.
“I’m pretty sure the court will deny that,” Jimenez said.
The Senate Committee on Rules said that it still has to study the resolution before they present it to the plenary for the senators to deliberate and vote on. (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf
MUNTINLUPA CITY, Philippines – The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 pushed through on Friday (February 1) the arraignment of Senator Leila de Lima in relation to the drug case filed against her.
De Lima refused to enter a plea and maintained her position that the charges filed against her were all fabricated. The Court entered a not guilty plea for her instead.
The lady senator and her former aide Ronnie Dayan are accused of conspiring with convicted drug lords from inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) to trade illegal drugs when she was still Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The trial on the case will begin on February 22.
The defense revealed they have tapped former president Benigno Aquino III to take the witness stand.
His testimony, according to De Lima’s legal counsel, is definitely vital to the case.
“Being the president, he has all the information relative to the topics ng kaso natin. Meaning, we want present him to prove na at all times material sa kaso na ito. There was no issue or even a rumor that would involve senator De Lima sa drug trading because if he knows na mayroon talagang ganyan, he would have taken action against the secretary,” argued Atty. Boni Tacardon.
Other witnesses on the defense side would be former PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa, former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre and former AFP chief of staff now DILG Secretary Eduardo Año.
“Si General Bato has been quoted several times sa newspaper na tinatakot iyong mga witnesses. Marami siyang sinabi regarding sa, itong mga inmates na ito,” Tacardon said.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecution panel, meanwhile, remained confident and unfazed by the line up of big names in the defense list of witnesses.
“They will be presenting Año. They will be presenting other military officers. I don’t see any materiality. At the end of the day, we will just wait for the former president to testify,” said prosecutor Romancito Ocampo.
De Lima previously contested the credibility of the drug lords tapped as witnesses by the prosecution to testify against her.
The lady senator claims that those inmates were being pressured to speak against her, something the inmates’ lawyer denied. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.