LOOK: Detained De Lima's tearful reunion with ailing mom

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 16 2019 03:06 PM

MANILA - Detained Sen. Leila de Lima's office shared Friday photos of her reunion with her 86-year-old mother who suffers from dementia in their hometown in Iriga City. 

Two Muntinlupa courts gave De Lima a 48-hour furlough starting Thursday, allowing her to visit her mother Norma in their ancestral home for the first time since the opposition lawmaker was detained for drug charges in February 2017. 

"The moment De Lima entered her mother’s room upon arrival from the Legazpi airport, high emotions set in. Those in the room, i.e., family members and relatives, were in tears," De Lima's office said in a statement.

The senator can be seen hugging her mother who was in bed, in photos that her office submitted for a furlough compliance report. 

Sen. Leila de Lima embraces her mother during a 48-furlough that allowed her to visit their ancestral home in Iriga City. Photo courtesy of De Lima's office

Sen. Leila de Lima embraces her mother during a 48-furlough that allowed her to visit their ancestral home in Iriga City. Photo courtesy of De Lima's office

Sen. Leila de Lima embraces her mother during a 48-furlough that allowed her to visit their ancestral home in Iriga City. Photo courtesy of De Lima's office

Sen. Leila de Lima embraces her mother during a 48-furlough that allowed her to visit their ancestral home in Iriga City. Photo courtesy of De Lima's office

De Lima's mother recognized the senator, said her brother Vic de Lima. 

"Hinug kaagad ng kapatid ko. And then tinanong ni Leila 'yung mother namin ‘Si’isay ako' or in Tagalog ‘Sino ako?’ ‘Nung una hindi kaagad nakasagot 'yung mother namin dahil mahina na ang pandinig so medyo nilakasan ng boses ni Leila," he said.

(She immediately hugged our mother. And then Leila asked our mother "who am I?" Our mother did not answer right away because of her poor hearing and Leila had to speak up.)

"‘Si'isay ako?' At sumagot 'yung nanay namin: 'Si Leila ikaw, si Leila ikaw!' Tuwang-tuwa. Nag-hug ulit sila. It is a beautiful reunion, nag-hug lahat."

("Who am I?" Our mother answered: 'You're Leila, you're Leila.' She was overjoyed. They hugged again. It was a beautiful reunion, everyone hugged.)

De Lima's brother thanked the courts and the police for the "beautiful day." 

"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 in a statement released Friday. 

(My mother's siblings were also there. And then it was catching up, hugging, stories from our youth.) 

This was the third time that De Lima saw her mother in over 2 years. 

The first instance was in December 2018 when her mother was brought to the national police headquarters in Quezon City, where the senator is detained. This was followed by a thanksgiving dinner with her family after her son passed the bar exam last June. 

De Lima, an outspoken critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, was accused by convicts at the national penitentiary of pocketing drug payoffs when she was still justice secretary during the previous administration. 

She has denied this several times, calling the allegations political persecution. She is not entitled to bail and, if found guilty, faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. 

- With a report from Freddie Cipres, ABS-CBN News