MANILA – Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles personally appeared before the Makati Regional Trial Court Friday for a hearing on her plea to undergo medical surgery and hospital confinement.
Senior Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson, said a subpoena was sent to Napoles "late last night" by the Makati RTC Branch 150, presided by Judge Elmo Alameda.
"In a way, it was a bit unexpected and of course we were hoping this would be issued next week. The subpoena came in last night ordering the regional police office to bring the person of Janet Lim Napoles…relative to her urgent motion to undergo medical surgery and hospital confinement," Sindac told ANC.
Napoles is asking the court that she be allowed to undergo medical surgery and confinement at a hospital of her choice, invoking the Declaration of Lisbon on the Rights of the Patient which was adopted by the World Medical Association in 1981.
Napoles, in a motion filed last March 4, is seeking leave for medical treatment at the St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig for a 6-centimeter growth in her uterus, a condition known as myoma uteri.
In a hearing last Tuesday, Dr. Santiago Del Rosario, chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Makati Medical Center, gave his opinion on the medical condition of Napoles based on existing tests and reports from Napoles' attending physician.
Del Rosario believes Napoles is suffering from abnormal bleeding, considering her age and documents presented in court showing an alleged drop of 2 grams in the patient's hemoglobin level.
He said one of the possibilities is that Napoles has cancer, and this can only be determined through a biopsy. He said the procedure should be done immediately.
Del Rosario, however, admitted that Napoles' condition is experienced by 40 percent of women above 40 years old.
The doctor appeared before the court at the request of Napoles, but he insisted that he was "neutral."
Also expected to be tackled in today's hearing is the confusion caused by the different name indicated in one of Napoles' medical test results. The medical test document showed it was made for a certain "Jenny Tan."
The court ordered Dr. Rommel Aguirre, who performed the test, to appear before today's hearing.
The defense, however, claimed that Tan and Napoles are one and the same, and that the former is just an alias for security purposes. They vowed to prove this before the court.
Napoles is a central figure in the so-called P10 billion pork barrel scam. She is detained at the Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna after being charged with serious illegal detention by her former aide and scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy.
She is facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudman, along with several lawmakers and government officials.
Sindac said the expenses in transporting Napoles from her detention area in Fort Sto. Domingo to the Makati court should "be less expensive because it was done hastily and very securely."
Several lawmakers and critics slammed the expensive travel expenses of Napoles from Fort Sto. Domingo to Camp Crame last February 26.
The PNP revealed that it spent as much as P120,000 just to bring Napoles from Laguna to the PNP headquarters.
This prompted Senator Francis Escudero to suggest that Napoles be transferred to a regular jail.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, meanwhile, suggested that Napoles be made to foot the bill of her detention said to be costing government P150,000 a month.
Meanwhile, Sindac said the PNP is ready in case the court grants Napoles' motion.
"This will be detailed in the order, and we have to consider just in case the possibility that she will be placed in a private hospital. We will have to factor in the rules in that particular hospital that she will be confined in.,"Sindac said.
" We will come up with a more comprehensive, and still safe security plan. We have possible options and we will wait until the order comes out."– with Atom Araullo, ABS-CBN News