August 31, 2001, Inquirer, Sandigan to tackle Jinggoy's bail bid on 'medical grounds', by Donna S. Cueto,
Posted: 2:23 AM (Manila Time)
THE SANDIGANBAYAN decided Thursday to hear the motion for bail based on "medical grounds" filed by former San Juan mayor Jinggoy Estrada, even as a petition involving the question of bail in the case against him pends before the Supreme Court.
Disregarding prosecution objections, the Sandiganbayan Third Division ruled that Estrada’s lawyers did not violate the rule on forum shopping when they filed the motion for bail or temporary liberty because of the supposed heart condition of Estrada.
The defense was prepared to present Estrada's cardiologist, Dr. Roberto Anastacio, Thursday but questions on the anti-graft court's authority to hear the new motion for bail postponed his testimony again.
Anastacio's testimony was reset for Tuesday next week.
The prosecution claimed the Sandiganbayan could not hear the motion for bail because the accused was not entitled to bail, having been charged with plunder, a capital offense.
Ombudsman Aniano Desierto argued that filing a motion for bail, although on other grounds like a medical reason, before the Sandiganbayan when there was a pending petition before the Supreme Court constituted forum shopping.
Defense lawyer Cleofe Verzola said there was an immediate need for the anti-graft court to hear their motion for bail because of Estrada’s heart condition. Jinggoy and his father, former President Joseph Estrada, are currently detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.
The prosecution said it will file a motion for reconsideration of the ruling, adding it will seek a TRO from the Supreme Court if the Sandiganbayan justices do not change their minds.
He said the young Estrada had a heart injury and the two incidents of sudden increase in CPK, a heart enzyme that suggests heart injury, during his detention at the VMMC could be signs of a major heart attack.
Asked if Estrada wasn't merely "overacting," Anastacio said, "There is evidence, hard data, that there is a heart injury. Jinggoy has an abnormal heart."
Desierto earlier said the defense could be using "medical reasons" to get Estrada out of the hospital and into his home under house arrest.
"Is Jinggoy sick?
If Jinggoy is really sick, then he should stay in the hospital," Desierto said.
He said Estrada's heart condition could get worse if he was at home.
"He could get sick at home. He would have so many problems--the wife, the children, the budget," he said.
And he would be free to smoke, drink and engage in other vices without doctors there to monitor him, he added.