In the interest of ensuring objectivity, Isabela Representative Giorgidi Aggabao has implored the Supreme Court to make the necessary reviews on the rules on the granting of appeals for hospital arrest. The House Leader pointed out several high-profile individuals who appear to have been abusing privileges, despite the fact that the charges hurled against them are non-bailable.
This development follows the wake of the arrest and the succeeding return to Palawan of former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes and his brother, former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes. The brothers have sought hospital detention while undergoing trial for the murder of well-known environmentalist and broadcaster Dr. Gerry Ortega in 2011.
Former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, are some of the personalities that have appeared to have taken the route of hospital arrest, prompting Aggabao to describe this as “the norm for the influential (people) who have been accused”.
Both Rep. Aggabao, president of the national People’s Coalition (NPC) and House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr., vice chairman of the Liberal party have echoed each other’s sentiments, saying that the courts will not approve the request of the Reyes brothers who have sought hospital arrest.
“In the case of the Reyes brothers, I would think there must be showing that, unless confined to a hospital, they risk immediate death. Absent that showing, regular detention must prevail,” said Aggabao, who is also an attorney.
Belmonte, himself also a lawyer said, “courts should not allow it (hospital detention).”
Meanwhile, the Reyes camp’s counsel Atty. Rod Valmoria has pushed for the approval for his clients to undergo an executive checkup, pointing out that Joel Reyes has hypertension and younger sibling Mario is nursing a fever.
The brothers were arrested on September 20, by local police in Rawai, Phuket, Thailand, the country where they have been in hiding for most of the time, following their exit from Philippine shores in 2012 before they were issued arrest warrants for the unlawful death of Dr. Gerry Ortega.