Monday, March 24, 2014

Napoles begs for confinement

By Mike Frialde 
The Philippine Star 
Janet-Lim-Napoles-medical-checkupMANILA, Philippines – Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, detained since August last year for an unrelated offense, made a tearful plea yesterday before a court to be allowed to undergo surgery and confinement at the St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City.
Napoles made a surprise appearance at the sala of Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda during the continuation of the hearing on her petition for SLMC surgery and confinement.
“Hirap na hirap na ako. Hindi na ako tinatablan ng gamot. Kung wala lang akong sakit, hindi ako magmamakaawa ng ganito (I’m suffering a lot. Drugs don’t work on me anymore. If I were not sick, I would not be begging like this),” Napoles told Alameda.
But Alameda reminded Napoles’ lawyer Fay Isaguirre Singson that her client simply cannot insist on being treated at the high-end hospital for uterine myoma because being an accused in a criminal case, her civil and political rights are restricted.
“The court is trying to balance everything,” Alameda said.
Napoles told the court that she wants to be treated at SLMC-Global City because all her medical records and her trusted doctors are there. She claimed her mother died of complications from medical malpractice.
“We’re not sadists here. We are all civilized people. We’re still studying it. The court will consider her security and how long will she be staying there,” Alameda said.
Alameda said the court is concerned about where Napoles would be confined after the surgery if ever, and how long the confinement would be. He cited the case of an accused who has been confined at the Philippine Heart Center for the past four years.
“The moment we grant her request to undergo it (surgery), it would now be in the hands of the attending doctor at what time she would be discharged from the hospital,” he said.
Other hospitals
Alameda suggested that Napoles try other hospitals, including the Southern Luzon Hospital and Medical Center in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, some 10 minutes by car from Fort Sto. Domingo also in Sta. Rosa where she is detained for the non-bailable serious illegal detention case filed by former employee-turned pork barrel scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy.
Other hospitals suggested by the court are the Ospital ng Makati, East Avenue Medical Center, Veterans Memorial Medical Center and the Philippine General Hospital.
During the hearing, Alameda also reprimanded State Prosecutor Christopher Garvida for opposing Napoles‘ petition without presenting an expert witness to debunk testimonies earlier made by doctors presented by the defense panel.
“The court is interested to know why you (prosecution) need to present another witness when two expert witnesses have been presented and expounded thoroughly on the condition of the patient-accused and the procedure to be done,” Alameda said.
“To destroy the testimony of an expert witness presented by the defense, you need to present your own expert witness. Are you not satisfied with the testimonies of the two (defense) witnesses? The court has gone over the testimonies of the two doctors. I can consider this matter for resolution already,” Alameda added.
He said the witnesses earlier presented by the prosecution panel even complemented the testimonies of the two defense witnesses.
“I will not rely on the patient’s plea. But I will rely on the expert opinion of doctors presented here,” he added.
After the hearing, Napoles was escorted by policemen to the Ospital ng Makati for a quick check-up before being returned to Fort Sto. Domingo.
Clerk of court Diosfa Valencia said a police medical officer asked the court that Napoles be brought to Ospital ng Makati after she suddenly complained of sharp abdominal pain during the hearing.
“It’s the (police) doctor’s call. There are factors considered like security and the proximity of the hospital from the court. The patient agreed because she felt the facilities there were okay,” Valencia said. She said the court would also await recommendations from Ospital ng Makati.
Valencia also said Napoles’ petition for surgery and hospital confinement is now up for resolution. She said the court is initially considering Ospital ng Makati as the surgery’s venue.
“Even the patient considered it,” she said. Treatment and confinement in a private hospital would not be allowed, Valencia said.
Valencia said an “internal arrangement” could be made with the administration of Ospital ng Makati to allow Napoles’ personal doctors to perform the surgery on her.
Napoles, meanwhile, suffered another legal setback after a Manila trial court yesterday extended the freeze on her bank accounts and properties “till thy kingdom come.” With Aurea Calica, Aie Balagtas See, Christina Mendez

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