ERAP granted house arrest to visit ailing mother in san juan

MANILA, OCTOBER 25, 2003  (STAR) By Delon Porcalla  - Jailed former President Joseph Estrada will be granted a temporary respite from imprisonment after the Sandiganbayan ruled yesterday to allow him to visit his ailing mother at her North Greenhills home in San Juan town.

Estrada earlier asked the Sandiganbayan to grant his petition for temporary house arrest and is willing to post bail for his temporary liberty so he can take care of his sick, 93-year-old mother, Dońa Mary Marcelo-Ejercito.

Estrada family physician Dr. Lorenzo Hocson of the Makati Medical Center (MMC) testified before the Sandiganbayan special division trying the case that Estrada’s mother is suffering from "abdominal aneurysms," a serious illness that is inoperable.

"She has three aneurysms and, if a rupture occurs, in three to five minutes, the patient may expire," Hocson told Sandiganbayan Justices Minita Chico-Nazario, Edilberto Sandoval and Teresita Leonardo-de Castro.

Hocson said the initial diagnosis for Estrada’s mother was pneumonia because she had dizzy spells, a slight fever and cough and was very weak.

The special division ruled that Estrada may leave Camp Capinpin, in Tanay, Rizal province, where he is now detained, at 5 a.m. tomorrow. From Camp Capinpin, Estrada will be brought to the house of his mother on Kennedy Street in North Greenhills. The justices, however, warned Estrada that he is not allowed to go to his house at No. 1 Polk street.

The Sandiganbayan also ruled that Estrada can spend the night at his mother’s house, but he may only be accompanied by members of his family and is not allowed to give any media interviews.

On Monday, Estrada will be brought to the Makati Medical Center (MMC), where he will undergo a medical checkup and a three-hour magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. He will be returned to Camp Capinpin after his medical exam and MRI scan. Security provided by the Philippine National Police (PNP) will surround Estrada from the time he leaves Camp Capinpin to the time he returns to his detention area there.

Estrada, 66, had been complaining of acute back pain and pain in his hips, making walking difficult. Hocson has told the Sandiganbayan Estrada must undergo a medical exam and MRI scan to determine what is causing the pain. Chief special prosecutor Dennis Villa Ignacio didn’t oppose the doctor’s testimony.

Sounding distraught over the telephone, Estrada told The STAR he is deeply concerned that his mother might already be counting her last days. "The hospital already sent her back home because they’ve given up on her," he said. "President Arroyo is also a mother, so she should know the feelings."

Estrada also vehemently denied allegations that he struck a deal with the President, which let the Sandiganbayan allow his transfer to Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal.

Prior to his transfer to Camp Capinpin — located a few meters from his rest house in Tanay — Estrada stayed at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City. He blames the worsening of his arthritis on the two and a half years of hospital detention, during which he was not allowed to leave his room for sunning.

Estrada found an unlikely ally in his request asking the Sandiganbayan to allow him to spend time with his ailing mother in their San Juan residence.

Former senator and Bohol representative Ernesto Herrera, one of the original signatories of the impeachment complaint against the ousted president in Congress, said the Sandiganbayan should immediately grant Estrada’s request for humanitarian as well as logical reasons.

"Erap’s mother is very sick and she’s asking for her beloved son to be by her bedside. Why should the courts make her condition worse by keeping mother and son separated?" Herrera said. "If Erap wants to be in a position to care for his mother in the time she has left, then the only compassionate thing to do is to let him.

Estrada was transferred on Oct. 17, a day before the eight-hour state visit of United States President George W. Bush, because intelligence reports indicated that some parties may attempt to harm him and embarrass the Arroyo administration in the process.

Mrs. Arroyo said she is "concerned as any humanely inclined person about the health conditions of the former president, but the disposition of a detention-related issue is properly left to his doctors and the court." — With Marichu Villanueva, Mike Frialde

25/10/2003

Bron : newsflash.org

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