Prosecutors are opposing Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada’s request to undergo a medical examination outside his place of detention, saying it can possibly be done at the medical center of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Estrada, who is detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame in Quezon City over a P183-million plunder charge in connection with the pork barrel scam, is asking the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to let him have a complete check-up at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City (Metro Manila) from July 28 to 30.
“While the prosecution commiserates with the present health condition of accused Estrada, assuming that it is true, nevertheless, it should be pointed out and this Honorable Court must take notice that there is no showing that the PNP Medical Center is not equipped with medical personnel and facilities necessary for the conduct of the proposed examination,” prosecutors said in a four-page Comment/Opposition.
Estrada said his personal physician Dr. Regina Socorro Bagsic examined him last July 16 at his place of detention after he complained of symptoms related to acid reflux and light headedness, and recommended that he undergo a check-up to rule out any cardiac or gastrointestinal tract issues.
“The prosecution is mindful that a patient has a right to choose his physician. However, accused Estrada’s current situation vis-a-vis our existing laws and jurisprudence militate against the furlough prayed for,” the prosecutors said.
They argued that because of the gravity of the offense charged, Estrada’s movement should be restricted.
“Further, to grant his request would unduly create an impression to the public that accused Estrada, being a high-ranking public official, is a favored detainee over and above other similarly situated detainees,” the prosecutors said.
They added that “allowing the accused to leave his detention cell for a medical check-up, which can possibly be performed at the PNP Medical Center, will entail additional and considerable government expenses to safeguard his security and safety.”
The prosecutors then asked the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division, which is handling the case, to consider their Comment/Opposition vis-a-vis Estrada’s motion.