No hospital arrest, no way.
Prosecutors in the Maguindanao massacre trial on Saturday said they would oppose any move to place suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan under hospital arrest because he has to supposedly undergo medical tests for diabetes and heart disease.
It is “all part of his game plan” to evade justice, which began with offers to testify about corruption and electoral fraud in the Arroyo administration, said private prosecutor Nena Santos.
“They’re moving heaven and earth. All of this is part of the game plan,” said Santos who said she would file a motion to oppose before Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes the recommendation made by a government doctor for Ampatuan to be brought to hospital for the tests.
“We oppose any hospital arrest,” she said.
In a July 12 communication to Judge Reyes, Chief Inspector Agnes Aglipay, the head of the Health Service Unit of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology-National Capital Region, recommended that Ampatuan undergo several medical tests in “a hospital setting.”
She said Ampatuan’s private doctors had found that he had “coronary heart disease and poorly controlled diabetes mellitus that needs immediate evaluation and prompt treatment.”
‘There may be a deal’
Harry Roque, another private prosecutor representing families of the massacre victims, said the development “does not look good.”
“It certainly reinforces the fears of the victims that there may be a deal. Usual procedures must be followed. A PGH (Philippine General Hospital) doctor should be called in to advise the court,” he said.
Roque said he would insist that a “reputable” government doctor conduct the examination of Ampatuan and that the tests be done at the maximum security prison compound at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig, where the Maguindanao massacre suspects are detained.
“I’m a diabetic myself. In fact, my situation is worse because I’m insulin-dependent but I’ve never been hospitalized for my tests,” Roque said.
Roque said a reputable government doctor should conduct the tests and not someone from the BJMP which, he noted, is under the jurisdiction of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
Roque earlier criticized Robredo for allegedly supporting Ampatuan’s bid to become a government witness.
“The court procedure here is for the tribunal to appoint a government doctor to do the tests. We will insist that a doctor of good reputation from the Philippine General Hospital or other government hospitals examine him first and not Robredo’s doctor,” he said.
And if Judge Reyes were to grant Ampatuan’s bid to be brought to hospital, Roque said prosecutors would also insist that he be arraigned first.
“That is a continuing motion from the prosecution. We have been insisting that he should now be arraigned,” Roque said, stressing that Ampatuan remains a flight risk.
Ampatuan has denied any involvement in the massacre but has implicated his father, Andal Sr., and brother, Andal Jr.
Santos said that the testimony Ampatuan has so far offered on the alleged electoral fraud committed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was “hearsay.” She said it would be better if authorities took in as a state witness former Election Supervisor Lintang Bedol and other local election officials “who have direct knowledge.”
“Does he have evidence directly linking GMA? All we have are information he got from others. If we want direct evidence, we should get that from Bedol and the other election officials,” Santos said.
“But I don’t know if even they were summoned to (GMA’s house). She’s a woman and smart. She would not have left a paper trail,” the prosecutor said.
Santos is the private prosecutor representing Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, whose wife and sister were among the 58 who were killed in the Nov. 23, 2009, massacre, as well as the families of a number of the other victims.
In her report to the court, Aglipay noted that Dr. Reynaldo Rosales, Ampatuan’s endocrinologist at St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City, had diagnosed the ex-governor as a diabetic in 2001 and that Ampatuan “was started on hypoglycemic agents and at present on combination oral and insulin therapy.”
“At present, he complains of frequent thirst and urination at least four to five times at night, blurring of vision, lower extremity pain and numbness,” Rosales is quoted as saying.
However, it appeared in the recommendation that Ampatuan’s last consultation with Rosales was in 2009.
Dr. Maita Senadrin, Ampatuan’s cardiologist, said he had been hypertensive for 10 years and was “also diagnosed to have fatty liver.”
Senadrin also described her patient as “a previous smoker, with a family history of parents having diabetes and hypertension.”
She said he was diagnosed as a child “to have congenital heart disease, but was asymptomatic in his 20s.”
She recommended that Ampatuan undergo the following tests: 12-lead ECG, two-dimensional echocardiography, 24-hour Holter monitoring, carotid duplex scan, peripheral arterial and venous duplex scan, endothelial function test, and complete blood chemistry including high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and myocardial perfusion imaging.