Philippine doctors say Estrada fit to be discharged

MANILA, Reuters

Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada, under arrest for corruption and economic plunder, is fit to be discharged from the military hospital where he has been held since last month, doctors said on Wednesday. “As far as we are concerned they are now ready for discharge. They are physically fit to travel outside the hospital,” said Liberato Casison, one of the doctors at Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Manila where Estrada and his son, Jose “Jinggoy”, are being treated. The former movie actor and his son have been in police custody since April on the charges, which are punishable by death or life imprisonment.

They were detained in a maximum-security police facility just south of Manila but were transferred last month to the military hospital for treatment of various ailments.

Estrada had complained of pain in his joints and legs, and an early doctor’s assessment in May found he had bronchitis. His son said he had experienced pain in his upper right chest.

In a three-paragraph statement, the doctors said they found “no new developments in his (Estrada’s) conditions,’chronic bronchitis and emphysema”osteo-arthritis of both knees’ and therefore find no urgent or compelling reasons to institute additional treatment and work up.”

The doctors recommended that Jinggoy get a temporary transfer to another Manila hospital for further checks. The court on June 9 ordered doctors to submit a medical report within 10 days, after denying a request from Estrada that he be put under house arrest.

An anti-graft court trying Estrada said in a June 9 resolution that the maximum-security police facility in the town of Santo Domingo was “the most suitable detention place for the accused (Estrada) on account of its secured environment”. Senior Superintendent Doroteo Reyes, legal officer of Philippine National Police, told reporters: ” We will have to wait for the court to issue an order before we can undertake their transfer back to Fort Santo Domingo.”