Court grants De Lima medical furlough after tests indicate possible ‘liver mass’

Sen. Leila M. de Lima is escorted by members of the PNP in Nov. 16, 2017 hearing at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court-Branch 204. FILE PHOTO FROM SEN. DE LIMA'S OFFICE

MANILA – A Muntinlupa court has granted an urgent request of detained Sen. Leila de Lima for medical furlough after a routine examination at the PNP General Hospital showed an impression of a “liver mass.”

Judge Amela Fabros Corpuz granted the urgent motion filed Feb. 22 by De Lima’s lawyer, based on advice by her personal physician. Dr. Errol Rhett Santelices, for the “immediate” CT scan following the periodic examination at the PNP-GH.

At a hearing on March 6, the court learned that the PNP General Hospital – the senator has been detained for over a year at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame – has no CT scan machine, and another nearby government institution’s machine was out of order. The judge thus allowed the senator to undergo the CT scan (tri-phase) at the Philippine Heart Center on East Avenue.

“To forestall any possibility of escape,” the court directed police Senior Supt. Belli Tamayo, the regional chief for NCR of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), or any of her deputies, to provide security escort to de Lima, and to “immediately bring her back to jail for detention” once the tests are done at the Heart Center.

De Lima is facing criminal drug-related charges in Muntinlupa, which the Department of Justice said had arisen from her abetting the drug trade at the national penitentiary when she was herself a Justice secretary in the Aquino administration.

The senator, however, has consistently tagged the charges as political persecution for her unrelenting criticism of the human rights record of President Rodrigo Duterte, including his record as mayor for two decades of Davao City.