“Mental stress” as a cause of non-appearance in court

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It’s the medical judgment of Dr. Antonio Sibulo that Jose Miguel Arroyo, the husband of Pres. Gloria Arroyo is unfit to appear in the inquiry regarding the collusion of government officials in rigging the contracts of World Bank-funded projects. It’s hard to know where the truth lies in Dr. Sibulo’s decision.

“Mental stress” can adversely affect the course of an illness, but it’s difficult to ascertain how it influences Mr. Arroyo. After undergoing aortic aneurysm operation in April 2007, he seems in no immediate danger if he testifies in the senate. With nothing said in the contrary, in all likelihood his surgery has healed.

Many assume Arroyo keeps proper medications which make him function proximate to a normal human being. His health hasn’t been an issue until lately when he is summoned to shed light to his alleged involvement in the WB anomaly.

Mr. Arroyo’s local and international travels are just as “stressful” as playing golf or watching Manny Pacquaio fight in a boxing match in Las Vegas. As far as the public knows, the doctors haven’t advised the controversial palace gentleman against such ”stressful” situations.

How can clarifying a scandal in public be so taxing if the man is innocent and has nothing to do with the case? Dr. Sibulo has this worry: “the mere sight by a patient of an ‘unlikeable’ person can increase stress. ‘What worries me as I see it in TV, temper and emotions run high and it takes a long time for such a hearing.’ ”—-GMATV.news (02/12/09, Dedace, S)

There is a pattern that Filipinos see when suspected felons are called upon to testify on public crimes. This is particularly true with cases of national importance which have made the people cynical and incredulous.

The public has seen it in Jocelyn Bolante, a US deportee, who spent weeks in St. Lukes Hospital for “urgent” medical tests which delayed his testimony on the multimillion peso fertilizer scam that rocked the country. As observers rightfully believed, the hullabaloo in Bolante’s medical tests came out negative. Why can’t the senate keep a clinic, a team of doctors, and an ambulance to take care of medical emergencies if they happen?

Yolanda Ricafort, the infamous bagwoman of Pres. Joseph Estrada appeared in an inquiry on a wheelchair with a nurse ostensibly waiving a stethoscope and sphygmomanometer to guard her patient’s hypertension. After her dubious testimony, Ricafort escaped to the United States to avoid further questions regarding Estrada’s misuse and plunder of government money. How can Filipinos counter the rampant use of health problems as cover to impede the conduct of investigations?

The exploitation of health issues as props in criminal investigations was also evident in Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia who chose to stay in UST Hospital for extended in house treatment. At the end of the round-about investigation, Garcia was found guilty and later court-martialed for theft and money laundering of funds of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which brought disgrace to the whole nation.

With the glaring examples above, how can the public readily believe Dr. Sibulo? If mental stress will be used as basis for non-appearance in an all investigations, it is likely all attempts to find truth won’t prosper because everyone’s health is at risk—all because of “mental stress.”

Mr. Arroyo has a long list of corruption charges—all of which remain unproven because of many reasons: lack of witnesses, judicial sluggishness, “insurmountable” medical conditions among others. It’s time that Arroyo comes out clean and show his courage to rescue the entire nation from international embarrassment of corruption. There must be a way, with Dr. Sibulo’s help, to make him testify so that he’ll not be perceived as guilty or be accused of malingering and cowardice. (Photo Credit: ButchokoyD) =0=

RELATED BLOGS: “Corruption and apathy: where will these lead us?” Posted by mesiamd at 2/10/2009; “Corruption scandals hurting Filipinos under Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo” Posted by mesiamd at 1/29/2009; “Hospital: a vacation house or a sanctuary for malingerers?” Posted by mesiamd at 10/29/2008.

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