Detained Senator Leila de Lima has tested negative for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) but was brought to the Manila Doctors Hospital on Saturday after she was diagnosed to have suffered a mild stroke.
“Her swab test result came out negative, De Lima’s office said in an update given by her chief of staff Fhillip Sawali.
In a four-page motion, De Lima’s camp asked the two Muntinlupa City courts handling her drug-related cases to allow her to go on an emergency medical furlough and hospital confinement, to undergo further examination, and, if necessary, immediate treatment upon the recommendation of her on-call physician.
For humanitarian reasons, the judges—Liezel Aquiatan and Romeo Buenaventura—granted the request made by De Lima’s doctor Meophilia Santos-Cao, who diagnosed the detained senator with mild stroke, to go on a three-day treatment.
The 61-year-old De Lima, whose security is provided by the Philippine National Police, said she was visited by Santos-Cao last April 21 after she experienced “bouts of headaches and persistent generalized weakness.”
“The examination by Dr. Santos-Cao left an impression that Accused De Lima experienced a Transient Ischemic Attack (mild stroke), hence the urgent and extremely important need to rule out a cerebrovascular accident,” the document read.
De Lima said she asked the courts to allow her to be examined specifically at the Manila Doctor’s Hospital because “the institution already is privy to her medical history, and it is the primary hospital of her other doctors who are consultants there.”
Likewise, the medical furlough is necessary because the Philippine National Police – General Hospital currently does not have the equipment necessary to ascertain her condition such as the Magnetic Resonance Imaging and other tests.
Her office added she needed to undergo Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) with contrast at Manila Doctor’s Hospital where she had been admitted during her previous medical furlough last February 11.
De Lima’s medical furlough was also granted as the Philippine National Police – General Hospital (PNP-GH) has no equipment for MRI and other tests.
The senator from Bicol assured the courts that “she will not be staying in the hospital longer than what is called for or necessary for the conduct of the prescribed tests and that she will render regular medical reports on her condition.”
She further told the courts that “proper observance of health and safety protocols will be followed, as prescribed under the IATF guidelines, and Personal Protective Equipment will be used by her and everyone who will be accompanying her during the medical furlough.”
De Lima was confined at the said medical facility for roughly 24 hours, from Feb. 11 to Feb. 12 of this year, to undergo several tests recommended by her physician and as part of her routine general medical examination.
Senator Francis Pangilinan, who said it was relayed to them that De Lima may have suffered a mild stroke while in detention, offered prayers for the immediate recovery of his fellow opposition senator.
“We know Sen. Leila is a strong woman — an ‘oragon’ (feisty in Bicolano) through and through, and we believe she can recover so long as she’s given the urgent medical attention not easily accessible for persons deprived of liberty,” he said.
“Over 1,500 days of unjust detention will take its toll on anyone — and now it’s affected Sen. Leila’s health. This is a severe injustice and a violation of basic human rights. Nobody should have to suffer through a stroke — alone due to being jailed under false charges,” he added.