Monday, April 10, 2006

Ka Bel's transfer to a hospital outside Camp Crame could prevent a possible stroke

From the Office of Anakpawis Representative Crispin B. Beltran

Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer (+63)927.796.7006

Tel. # (+632) 426-9442 Email:

URL: http://

Ka Bel's transfer to a hospital outside Camp Crame could prevent a possible stroke

The court battle to get Anakpawis solon Crispin "Ka Bel" Beltran out of jail is not also a quest for justice, it's also a race of time to save Ka Bel's life.

While the Department of Justice (DOJ) seems to be hell-bent on keeping the 73-year old Beltran in police custody at Camp Crame, doctors and psychiatrists are recommending his urgent transfer to a hospital of his choice with adequate facilities. This, they say, is the only way to significantly lessen his chances of having a possibly fatal stroke.

The 73-year old congressman, possibly among the oldest political detainees in the country, has a history of ailments that make his continuing detention in Camp Crame a clear hazard to his health and well-being. Beltran was confined in Room 1 of the Philippine National Police (PNP) General Hospital since March 2 this year, for hypertension and unstable blood pressure levels. While his blood pressure has since then stabilized, doctors agree that Beltran's first stroke last year makes him a prime target for another stroke.

Beltran suffered from a mild stroke in June 2005. He was confined for a week at the Far Eastern University Hospital and was discharged with home medications. In 2003, he was confined for a week at the Philippine Heart Center for chest pains related to angina, a heart ailment.

At the hearing before the Makati Regional Trial Court (MRTC) Branch 137 last April 7, Beltran's lawyers, doctors, and psychiatrists pressed for an Omnibus Motion pleading that Beltran be immediately released or be allowed to avail himself of the protective custody of the House of Representatives and be transferred to a hospital with adequate facilities. Before MRTC Branch 137 Judge Jenny Lind Aldecoa-Delorino, Beltran's lawyers presented three medical reports from doctors and a psychiatrist who previously examined Beltran this April. The first two documents were a Medical Report issued by cardiologist Dr. Roberto A. Raymundo of the Philippine Heart Center last April 6, and another Medical Report issued by Health Action for Human Right (HAHR) physicians Dr. Romeo F. Quijano, Reginaldo L. Pamugas, and Melani Hernandez-Sionzon also on April 6.

"Clinically, [Beltran] appears stable cardiovascular wise. However, because of his history of a previous hypertensive bleed, he remains at high risk for developing a second stroke," Raymundo said.

"His condition is life-threatening. He suffered from cerebrovascular hypertensive bleed last June 2005. This may occur again anytime," the medical doctors from HAHR noted. Other diseases and ailments noted in their diagnosis included hypercholesterolemia, gouty arthritis, nutritional anemia, diabetes mellitus Type 2, and hypertensive cardiovascular disease.

"Considering that he is an elderly and that he has a life-threatening illness, we strongly recommend that Cong. Beltran be immediately transferred to and confined in a hospital of his choice for further laboratory work-up and proper medical evaluation and management," they added.

A Psychiatric Evaluation prepared by Dr. Michael P. Sionzon (License No. 93488) last April 6 strongly recommended Beltran's transfer to another hospital outside the PNP premises. The psychiatric evaluation issued by Sionzon recommended Beltran's transfer because this would considerably decrease Beltran's state of anxiety and recurring nightmares.

"It is further recommended that safekeeping in another facility or a transfer to another hospital would be more conducive to his health since his fears of assassination would decrease if he were outside the PNP compound¬°√ĄGiven his overall health condition of being elderly with a history of hypertension and cerebrovascular disease, a return to his cell might be hazardous. Although the anxiety that he experienced during his detention there was not pathological per se, the autonomic responses accompanying it might precipitate another cerebrovascular event," Sionzon wrote.

"We also recommend his transfer to a safe and non-hostile environment to avoid the stressful condition and mental anguish that will trigger and aggravate his medical condition," the three doctors from HAHR emphasized.

Meanwhile, Judge Aldecoa-Delorino has given the DOJ prosecution team until April 12 to submit their Comments on the Motion to Release. Judge Aldecoa-Delorino also ordered the DOJ and the PNP, through the PNP General Hospital's Director of Health Services r. Supt. Federico Dama, to comment on the medical findings presented by Beltran's lawyers. After this, the judge is expected to finally decide on whether or not to grant the Motion to Release Beltran or have him transferred to a hospital with adequate facilities. ###


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