By Raïssa Robles
Then his family told authorities that he had been kidnapped and his abductors were demanding P1 million.
It’s a neat alibi in case he’s found. Or he returns.
It would not add to his prison time that has now run for 21 years.
Rolito Go was among those who tried but were too late to obtain a presidential pardon from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for his life term. The other convicted murderer who tried but failed was Antonio Sanchez – the former Calauan, Laguna Mayor who liked to surround himself with religious statues.
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Another piece of news that’s hard to swallow (like a melon?) concerns Mrs Arroyo. To hear Congressman Danilo Suarez say it, she’s a very sick woman and only a trip to New York to a specialist there could save her failing health.
If you recall, Arroyo who is supposed to be in a delicate condition was able to leave the military hospital quite fast on her own two feet, shortly after posting bail last month.
And now we are told that besides a displaced titanium plate on her neck which Suarez said could cause “sudden death” (according to her doctor), she has a clogged coronary artery, a lump near her rib cage and previously, a fatty liver.
However, she is apparently healthy enough to fly overseas.
She was also healthy enough to undertake a whirlwind of activities including traveling for hours back and forth in a vehicle from Manila to Pampanga.
The only bit of good news for the Filipino taxpayer is that Mrs Arroyo’s current medical consultations are not costing them a centavo since she is out on bail.
The cases of Rolito Go and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo put a spotlight on what’s wrong with the Philippine justice system. It takes a long time for justice to be served, and even when it is served, there is no assurance that it will stay served.
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Arroyo’s case reminds me of the physical travails of Joseph Estrada, who remains alive to this day. But when he was in detention, he also seemed to be on the verge of death. Here’s what my journo-hubby Alan wrote about Estrada back in 2003:
Just last week Estrada was trundled off to a posh private hospital outside Manila so specialists could examine the “multiple slipped discs” at his back and “torn ligaments” at his knee. Last year the ex-president had a cataract operation, and also an intraocular lens implantation in his right eye. Now his doctors say his arthritic knees require an operation to replace them with prosthetics. His son claims Estrada’s bones haven’t been getting much sunshine and have become brittle. And oh yes, his “coronary risk factors” need further evaluation of his “cardiovascular status.”
What’s noteworthy is that the ex-president, the defendant in a plunder and graft trial which could see him sentenced to death, only started suffering major medical problems once he’d been imprisoned. His doctors and supporters have had one consistent reaction to the various ailments: immediate treatment in the United States.
Prosecutors say Estrada’s medical problems are being used as a ruse to slip the prisoner out of the country and the reach of justice. The deposed president already has access to the best specialists and doctors in the Philippines. In fact he isn’t confined in prison but at a suite in a government hospital where he enjoys unheard-of privileges: Visitors, choice food, videogames and even, on one occasion, a catered party complete with pianist. It’s certainly a strange way to treat the country’s most infamous prisoner.
Yet his lawyers insist their client is suffering and desperately needs treatment abroad. They glibly swear he would NEVER dream of fleeing his trial once allowed out of the country.
I have a suggestion. Instead of having to go around to various hospitals seeking specialist treatment, and to save him the trouble of an arduous trip abroad, Estrada could just stay put in his suite and mail out the body parts that are problematic. Even his bones could be sunned in California.
And who knows? Specialists might even be able to reassemble Estrada at the other end. And then he’d be out of the country – Alan C. Robles.
To read more about Mrs Arroyo, pls click on this link.
To read more about Rolito Go, pls go to this link.