De Lima camp to refute grounds for denial of furlough request
MANILA (UPDATED) - A Muntinlupa court has rejected detained Senator Leila De Lima's request for a furlough to to attend the graduation rites of her youngest son on June 3.
In an order released Friday, the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 rejected De Lima's plea, citing six grounds for opposition.
The court said De Lima's presence at the said event is "not indispensable" and that her presence may disrupt the solemnity of the occasion, "especially so that she is considered a public figure."
The court also believes the "risk of flight is very high," and that allowing De Lima to attend occasions such as graduation rites "would accord her the liberties of a free man with all the privileges appurtenant to her position."
The court, likewise, believes that De Lima's supporters may disrupt the solemnity of her son's graduation, should she be allowed to attend.
"That considering accused De Lima's supporters were always there to rally behind her in all her hearing dates, the same would disrupt the solemnity of the occasion for other attendees, not to mention that the accused's escorts would also occupy limited seats supposedly reserved for other parents/attendees," the order stated.
De Lima's camp said it will file a motion for reconsideration to refute the grounds raised by the court.
"We are saddened by the order of Judge Fabros denying our motion for furlough. We intend to file a motion for reconsideration to refute the grounds raised by the court in denying our motion," Atty. Boni Tacardon said in a statement.
"We just hope the judge will understand the situation and the understandable desire of a mother to be with her son on this very important milestone in his life," he added.
De Lima has been detained at the police Custodial Center since February 2017 over allegations that she accepted drug money from detained crime lords when she was still justice secretary.
She filed an urgent motion for permission to attend the graduation of her son and spend at least 2 hours with her family after the rites earlier this month.
It is the third time that De Lima has sought the court’s permission to grant her furlough -- the first was to attend the Senate inquiry on the death of teenager Kian de los Santos but was deemed moot, and the second one was to seek medical check-up last May 10, which was granted.
De Lima, a fierce critic of the administration's anti-narcotics drive, has rejected the drug allegations against her, saying these were politically-motivated.
She is not entitled to bail and, if found guilty, faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
De Lima said her son's graduation from the San Beda College's law school will be held on June 3.