'Beautiful reunion': De Lima recognized by ailing mom with dementia

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 15) — Detained Senator Leila de Lima had a tearful reunion with her ailing mother on Thursday after she was granted a two-day furlough.

De Lima left her detention cell in Camp Crame at around 2:30 a.m. to fly to Legazpi Airport. From the airport, she traveled for hours by land to their ancestral home in Barangay San Agustin in Iriga, Camarines Sur.

The lawmaker is expected to fly back to Manila before her furlough ends on August 16, the date set by two Muntinlupa courts, the opposition senator’s youngest brother Vicboy, said in an interview on Thursday. He did not provide other details.

Vicboy shared special moments of his sister's reunion with the family and their relatives after her more than two years of detention because of drug charges.

"It's a glorious day for us because after 900+ days, our sister is able to come back here in Iriga. For the first time in a long, long time kumpleto po kaming apat na magkakapatid para samahan ang aming nanay na matanda na po at merong sakit," he told the media.

[Translation: It's a glorious day for us because after 900+ days, our sister is able to come back here in Iriga. For the first time in a long time all the four children are here to be with our sick mother.]

Vicboy said their relatives were crying, but Senator de Lima told them not to cry because her short return is a joyous occasion.

He also shared the touching moment where the senator asked their 86-year-old mother Norma, who is suffering from dementia, if she remembered and recognized her daughter.

"Noong umakyat siya sa kwarto ng nanay namin, hinug kaagad ng kapatid ko. Then tinanong ni Leila yung mother namin, 'Si isay ako? (Sino ako?)' Noong una hindi agad nakasagot 'yung mother namin dahil mahina na ang pandinig. So nilakasan ni Leila, 'Si isay ako?' At sumagot 'yung nanay namin, 'Si Leila ikaw!' Tuwang-tuwa, nag-hug ulit sila... It was a beautiful reunion," Vicboy said.

[Translation: She went up to my mother's room and they quickly hugged. Then Leila asked our mother, 'Who am I?' At first she didn't hear because of her poor hearing, so Leila repeated the question. My mother responded, 'You're Leila!' They were so happy. It was a beautiful reunion.]

The family also prepared her favorite meals — food cooked in coconut milk  to make her feel at home.

De Lima arrived in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) past 12 a.m. of August 16 and mmediately proceeded to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center, as ordered by Muntinlupa courts.

The opposition senator has been detained since February 24, 2017 over her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison when she was the Justice Secretary from 2010 to 2015.

CNN Philippines correspondent AC Nicholls contributed to this report.