The Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 205 denied the motion for furlough filed by former justice secretary and now detained Senator Leila de Lima to attend her son’s graduation on Sunday.
In her three-page order dated May 25, Judge Amalia Fabros-Corpuz said de Lima “cannot be given a different treatment as that of other prisoners whose liberty is curtailed, pending the final resolution of their criminal cases.”
“In sum, accused De Lima’s presence in the said Commencement Exercises will disrupt the solemnity of the said occasion not only for the other attendees and parents but also for her son who will celebrate the momentous occasion,” read the court order.
The court added that with the senator’s presence, the security of the school may be put at risk as well as the place where it is located.
“The time honored principle that ‘the law may be harsh, but it is the law’ applies in this situation where the accused whose liberties are curtailed, cannot exercise acts nor conduct activities of a freeman, even though the said accused has not been adjudged guilty of the crime charged,” the court said.
The court added that the senator doesn’t have to be present at the occasion, citing that with the help of technology, her relatives can record the event and show it to her when they visit her in Camp Crame.
The Muntinlupa RTC also agreed with the reasons cited by the prosecution in their opposition.
The prosecution cited the following reasons: 1. that her presence in the graduation ceremony is not indispensable; 2. that the solemnity of the occasion will be disrupted by her presence considering she is a public figure; 3. the occasion will be celebrated in public; 4. the risk of flight is ‘very high’; 5. granting her request would provide her the liberties enjoyed by any free man; and 6. her supporters might disrupt the graduation ceremony by holding a protest rally.
Fabros-Corpuz is one of the judges handling the drug cases filed against the former justice secretary in connection with her alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Separate cases for three counts of drug trafficking were filed against de Lima before the Muntinlupa RTC which were assigned to three different courts.
Aside from Branch 205, the two other cases against de Lima which accused her of receiving millions from illegal drug trade in the NBP are now being handled by Branch 204 and Branch 206.
The first count in Branch 204 also included de Lima’s former driver and alleged lover Ronnie Dayan, who is now detained at the Muntinlupa City Jail.
On the other hand, de Lima is joined by her nephew Jose Adrian Dera in the second count in Branch 205.
Lastly, the third count in Branch 206 included former Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Bucayu, his alleged bagman Wilfredo Elli, high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian, de Lima’s former bodyguard Jonel Sanchez, Dayan and Dera, also as accused.
De Lima is currently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City. (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan, Philippine News Agency)