De Lima in stable condition, PNP says

The national police chief on Wednesday said detained former senator Leila de Lima is in stable condition at the Philippine National Police General Hospital days after she was held hostage by three fellow inmates during a foiled escape attempt inside Camp Crame.

In a Palace press briefing, Philippine National Police chief, Lt. Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said De Lima was admitted to the PNPGH last Monday due to acute coronary syndrome, costochondritis and hypertension.

“Her condition remains stable, and it’s being monitored daily by her attending physician and staff of the PNP General Hospital. As for security, she has provided 24-hour security detail,” Azurin told the media.

“She is undergoing medication, and the latest health bulletin will be released at the soonest possible time,” he added.

When asked if the hostage-taking incident that threatened the life of De Lima aggravated her sickness, Azurin clarified that the former lawmaker had been experiencing the said illnesses since then.
He said De Lima’s camp is free to seek her transfer to other facilities.

“But, if the (former) senator feels that she is no longer secured in Camp Crame, then maybe she could opt to be transferred to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, there is a facility there that could accommodate her,” Azurin said. “But, when I had the chance to talk to Senator De Lima, she manifested that she still prefers to stay with the PNP Custodial Center.”

High-risk inmates

The PNP, he said, will recommend the detention of high-risk inmates, particularly convicted terrorists, in facilities run by the AFP.

“That would be one of the recommendations that the PNP would be doing po because the very reason that’s why we have detainees inside Camp Crame is that some courts give the order that these particular ‘criminals’ who are facing criminal charges have to be detained inside Camp Crame,” he said.

He added: “Otherwise, the PNP would not allow or would not accept anybody kasi personally it is not the police job to watch over inmates,” he added.

De Lima was held at knifepoint by one of three inmates, who were suspected as members of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, and another one stabbed a police officer with an improvised knife.

All of them were killed during an encounter with the police.

Azurin bared that De Lima is being provided a 24-hour security while undergoing observation.

Meanwhile, Colonel Mark Pespes, the director of the PNP Headquarters Support Service, shared how he neutralized Feliciano Sulayao Jr. — the person who took De Lima hostage at the custodial center of the Philippine National Police at Camp Crame.

In an interview over Daily Tribune’s Gising Na! digital program yesterday, Pespes it was a good thing he was at work when the hostage-taking incident happened.

“I don’t go home on weekends so I personally supervised the operations and we managed to extend the negotiation (with the hostage-taker). In less than an hour, actually 48 minutes the hostage-taking was over,” he said.

He admitted that there are some lapses in the 3-decades old custodial facility that need to be corrected.

Among them, he said, are assigning more personnel to augment the Special Action Force and Quick Response Team at the custodial facility.

With Paula Antolin

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