Senator Leila M. de Lima may be celebrating the upcoming holidays in detention but she remains in high spirits as her family and relatives were allowed to visit her on Christmas and New Year’s Day.
De Lima, touted as the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, said she is thankful for what she considers an “early Christmas present” but admitted the celebration will be incomplete sans her mother’s presence.
“I am very glad and thankful that my request to be with my family this Christmas and New Year was granted, especially because I failed to be with them during Lent and All Saints’ Day, which are two very important occasions for the entire family. This is indeed an early Christmas present,” she said.
“But while I’m elated about the news on the visitation grant, it still saddens me that I cannot be with my mother over the holidays considering that she is still unaware of my current situation and we don’t want to cause her misery and grief by giving her details about my unjust detention,” she added.
On Dec. 20, De Lima confirmed that she, as with other PNP Custodial Center detainees, were granted visits from family and relatives on Christmas Eve, December 24, until 1 a.m. the following day and on December 25, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., also on December 31 until 1 a.m. the following day, and on January 1 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Note that the Senator from Bicol wrote to the PNP Custodial Center authorities on Dec. 15 requesting to allow her family and relatives to visit her on Christmas and New Year’s Day.
“Since both holidays fall on a Monday, a ‘no visitors’ day, and in the spirit of the Yuletide season, may I humbly request for exemption from the ‘no visitors’ rule for both days and accordingly allow visits from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” she noted.
In anticipation of Christmas Day, a Mass will be officiated and be attended by De Lima, along with her family and relatives, on Dec. 24.
Aside from their regular visits to check on the condition of the Senator, De Lima’s family members also regularly hear Mass with her inside the Custodial Center of the Philippine National Police, in Camp Crame, Quezon City every Sunday.