Leila de Lima tests negative for COVID-19 despite exposure to Abalos

The former senator adds that she is currently confined to the PNP General Hospital due to chest pain after her hostage taking

MANILA, Philippines — Former detained Senator Leila de Lima said Tuesday, October 11 that she tested negative for COVID-19 despite her exposure to COVID-positive Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos.

“Tested negative for the COVID-19 virus, I had to undergo an RT-PCR test yesterday afternoon, given my exposure to Sec. Benhur Abalos who tested positive after checking me last Sunday following the hostage-taking incident,” De Lima said in a statement.

De Lima’s team also shared with reporters a copy of his COVID-19 test result.

After De Lima Survived the hostage situation inside the Philippine National Police Detention Center on Sunday where she was nearly killed, Abalos paid her a visit. However, on Monday the interior chief announced that he had tested positive for the virus.

The former senator had a hearing originally scheduled for Monday for one of her alleged drug cases. But due to his exposure to Abalos, Assistant City Attorney Darwin Cañete and Senior Assistant City Attorney Rudy Ricamora Jr. moved to to suspend hearing for health reasons.

“Therefore, even when everyone was there – all the defendants, the defense lawyers, the panel of prosecutors and the prosecution witness, Herbert Colangco, who was then to be cross-examined – the judge had no no choice but to cancel and reset the hearing, to protect everyone’s health, including that of court personnel, and in accordance with existing health protocols,” De Lima said.

Judge Romeo Buenaventura postponed the hearing to October 24.

De Lima added that she is currently confined to the PNP General Hospital.

“I am now confined to PNPGH for further monitoring and testing due to persistent chest pain resulting from the hostage taker’s constant pressure on my chest with the sharp weapon right next to the heart.”

De Lima’s hostage-taking was carried out by the alleged deputy leader of the local Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, Feliciano Sulayao Jr. It happened after Sulayao and his companions, Idang Susukan and Arnel Cabintoy, tried to s escape from the detention center.

De Lima, after her ordeal, said she thought she don’t come out alive. The incident also renewed calls for his release.

The former senator has been detained for more than five years on alleged drug charges, which she called “fabricated”. To date, De Lima has been acquitted in one of three conspiracies to bring drug trafficking charges against her. – Rappler.com

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