‘Gigi Reyes neurotic but can stand jail’
MANILA, Philippines–She’s neurotic but she can survive jail and is fit to undergo a court trial.
This is what Dr. Anthony Lontoc, the resident cardiologist of the Taguig-Pateros District Hospital (TPDH), told the Sandiganbayan on the state of health of Gigi Reyes, the former chief of staff and coaccused of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, who has dropped her petition to be allowed to stay in a tertiary hospital and is pursuing her original plea to be detained at the Philippine National Police custodial center where two senators who are similarly accused in the P10-billion pork barrel scam are being held.
“She (Reyes) has mixed anxiety and depressive disorder. The patient can stand trial and arraignment,” Lontoc said in his hourlong testimony on Tuesday before the Sandiganbayan Third Division.
According to Lontoc, because of her neurosis, Reyes could not cope with the sudden change in environment and circumstances. He has recommended medication but it could take a month before the drug or drugs take effect, he said.
Lontoc said that Reyes was previously diagnosed with neurosis but that she had failed to take her prescribed medicine.
He said that Reyes was well enough to stay in any facility provided that the transfer be done gradually, a psychiatrist is on hand to serve her requirements, and at least two “responsible adults” are around to take care of her.
There is no resident psychiatrist at the TPDH and Camp Bagong Diwa where the court has ordered Reyes to be detained.
Lontoc based his testimony on the results of a battery of tests conducted on Reyes at the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) where she was rushed last Friday after she reportedly suffered a panic attack.
Reyes’ lawyer, Anacleto Diaz, told the court his client was discharged from the PHC and brought back to Camp Bagong Diwa on Monday night on a “stretcher as she was under sedation and not ambulatory.”
Diaz said Reyes’ return to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology’s Bicutan, Taguig, facility has made her petition to be allowed to stay in a tertiary hospital moot.
Reyes’ return to the Taguig facility was made a day after the Sandiganbayan ordered her doctors and the BJMP to explain why she was transferred to the PHC from the TPDH without authorization from the antigraft court.
Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang scolded the BJMP officials at the hearing on Tuesday for failing to inform and obtain the court’s permission. “The court was the last to know about her transfer,” said a visibly irked Cabotaje-Tang.
The brouhaha over Reyes’ hospital transfers started on Thursday morning when she was rushed to the TPDH only a few hours after being transferred from the Sandiganbayan jail after she reportedly suffered an anxiety attack at the prospect of sharing a jail cell with alleged communists.
In their defense, Dr. Prudencio Sta. Lucia, the TPDH medical director, said Reyes’ transfer to the PHC was a matter of urgency as they were dealing with a “cardiac emergency” and the PHC had all the proper facilities.
Insp. Aris Villaester, the spokesman for the BJMP-National Capital Region, said Reyes was “released” from the PHC “by virtue of (the) doctors’ recommendation” at about 9 p.m. on Monday and arrived at Camp Bagong Diwa at 10:17 p.m.
He said Reyes was placed in an “isolation room” on the first floor of the detention facility because she “still had radiation in her body as a result of the lab tests” she underwent at the PHC. He said the room had an electric fan.
Villaester said Reyes would be returned to her original cell, a 1.5-meter by 6-meter isolation cell on the fourth floor of the facility, after a week or more, “depending on her condition.”
He said a BJMP nurse was on “standby” for Reyes, as well as an on-call doctor and personnel from the BJMP’s Special Tactics and Response team that is “trained to respond in emergencies.”
In a statement, the Southern Tagalog chapter of the militant group Karapatan criticized the BJMP for what it said was the “special treatment” of Reyes.
Karapatan-ST said other inmates at the Bagong Diwa facility like Maria Miradel Torres and Andrea Rosal had to “go through the eye of a needle” to be taken to a hospital.
“It’s obvious (Reyes) doesn’t want to be detained at the Taguig City Jail, her acting is obvious…,” said Rev. Gil Sediarin, deputy secretary general of Karapatan-ST.
The BJMP has strongly denied this.–With Kristine Felisse Mangunay
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.