IRIGA CITY – The family of opposition senator Leila de Lima on Friday expressed its gratitude to the courts for allowing her to briefly reunite with her ailing mother.

Vicente de Lima, the senator’s youngest brother, said the family was grateful to Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branches 205 and 256 for giving his eldest sister a 48-hour furlough to check on the condition of their mother, 86-year-old Norma Magistrado de Lima.

This was the first time in two and a half years that the senator was able to return to her home in Albay since her detention in February 2017 over what she calls “trumped-up” drug charges meant to silence her criticism of the drug war.

“We would like to express our appreciation to the Muntinlupa RTC for their wisdom and compassion in granting the request of furlough of our sister. We would also like to thank PNP for providing security,” Vicente said.

Vicente likened the atmosphere inside the ancestral home to a family reunion.

“It’s like a family reunion, meaning all of us siblings are there, and also with our close relatives. Nandiyan din po yung mga kapatid ng mother ko. And then it’s kamustahan, hugging, kuwentuhan nung mga kabataan,” he said.

Vicente reiterated the family’s call for prayers for the full recovery of their mother, so she could see the day of de Lima’s “vindication and redemption from the trumped-up charges filed by the administration using perjured and coerced witnesses.”

De Lima arrived in Legazpi City at 6:25 a.m. on Thursday (Aug. 15) and was able to return to Manila last night as she had a scheduled hearing on Friday morning before Muntinlupa RTC Branch 205.

The brief reunion was only the third time that De Lima saw her mother since she was detained last February 2017. The first happened on Dec. 23, 2018 when her mother was brought to the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

De Lima spent two hours with her mother during the thanksgiving dinner for his younger son, Vincent Joshua de Lima Bohol, for passing of the Bar Exam on June 16, 2019. (