Arroyo’s doctor also served Ecleo’s cause
Lawyers who successfully prosecuted Ruben Ecleo for parricide want authorities to check on the medical practice of the doctor who recently said former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo needs urgent surgery abroad.
“Is he a doctor for sale?” asked Cebuano lawyer Alfredo Sipalay referring to Dr. Roberto Anastacio, a cardiologist from the Makati Medical Center, who recommended that former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo undergo surgery abroad to repair sliding metal implants on her neck.
Sipalay recalled that Anastacio was the same physician who certified in court that Ecleo, who was later expelled as congressman of Dinagat, had a heart ailment.
Another Ecleo prosecution lawyer Kit Enriquez said Anastacio became Ecleo’s doctor when his bail application was taken up by the court hearing his parricide case.
He said Ecleo should have remained in jail if the court didn’t grant him P1 million bail following the testimony by Anastacio that Ecleo has “significant coronary disease.”
Ecleo, who was then facing parricide accused of killing his wife Alona in Cebu City on Jan. 5, 2002, was released from jail in 2004 after posting bail to enable him to seek medical treatment for his heart ailment.
Anastacio had recommended that Ecleo undergo a heart bypass to improve blood flow to his heart where a severe blockage was found.
The doctor said one of Ecleo’s major arteries in the heart narrowed and may endanger his life.
“But look at what happened now. He was granted bail in 2004. He appeared very healthy and even ran for Congress,” Sipalay said.
After Anastacio’s testimony, Judge Soliver Peras ordered Ecleo to undergo heart bypass to address his alleged ailment.
But until now, Sipalay said, Ecleo has not subjected himself to a heart bypass.
“They never complied with that,” Sipalay said.
Aside from serving Ecleo and Arroyo, according to Sipalay, Anastacio was also the physician of former first lady Imelda Marcos and former president Joseph Estrada.
After making statements in a press conference that Arroyo needs urgent surgery abroad last week, the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) reprimanded Anastacio for making comments on medical cases that is outside his field of specialization.
Anastacio later apologized and said he was misunderstood in the media.
In an Inquirer report last August 23, Dr. Leo Olarte, a PMA governor and an orthopedic surgeon, said Anastacio might have breached the PMA’s Code of Ethics when he told the media what kind of treatment Arroyo needed even though he was not a bone expert. “You should stick to your field especially in sensitive cases,” Olarte said.
Last April 13, Ecloe was sentenced to a prison term of 20 to 40 years for killing his wife Alona.
He was earlier convicted and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for a graft case by the Sandiganbayan. Because of the conviction, Ecleo was expelled from Congress where he represented the lone district of Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte.
The graft case was filed during Ecleo’s stint as Dinagat mayor.
Pres. Benigno Simeon Aquino III has raised the reward money to P2 million for anyone who can lead to the arrest of Ecleo who is among the top fugitives in the country.
Arroyo is facing election sabotage cases. Additional cases for plunder have also been filed against her. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter
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