MANILA, Philippines - A heated exchange between the prosecution and the defense became the highlight of a hearing in the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 221 this morning.
Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes was hearing an urgent motion filed by former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. seeking extended confinement at the AFP Medical Center after he was rushed to the hospital last Friday.
Private prosecutor Atty. Harry Roque and counsel for the defense Atty. Gregorio Narvasa got into a shouting match in the middle of the proceedings after Roque complained that Ampatuan was transferred even though the request was still pending.
Judge Solis walked out of the court room to allow the two lawyers to cool off. Roque and Narvasa offered their apologies to the court when the session resumed.
"It's just a minor thing, squabbles between lawyers are normal, what's important here is determining the true health condition of Andal Sr.," said Narvasa.
"Bahagi yan ng buhay abugado," concurred Roque.
Meanwhile, Solis directed Amapatuan's attending physician to provide a medical report on the current condition of the patient who is still confined at the AFP Medical Center.
A separate report from the doctors of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) submitted to the court this morning indicated that Ampatuan still "requires hospital confinement."
In the same report, Ampatuan is said to be suffering from pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic alcoholic liver disease.
The prosecution was given 24 hours upon receipt of the new medical report to comment on the motion of the defense.