PNP to court: Revilla complained of headache to visit Enrile
MANILA, Philippines – In a report submitted to the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan, the Philippine National Police (PNP) confirmed that detained Senator Ramon Revilla Jr used a supposed need to be rushed to the emergency room to attend the birthday celebration of his fellow detainee Senator Juan Ponce Enrile in the hospital.
Both senators are facing plunder and graft charges for allegedly receiving kickbacks through the illegal diversion of their discretionary Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) under the country's biggest corruption scandal in recent history.
Revilla, along with Senator Jinggoy Estrada, is detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center, while Enrile is under hospital arrest at the PNP General Hospital. Both facilities are in Camp Crame in Quezon City.
In a 6-page comment filed before the Sandiganbayan First Division, PNP Officer-in-Charge Leonardo Espina furnished the court with a report of what happened, including testimonies from concerned police officers. (READ: PNP officials relieved over Revilla visit to Enrile)
According to the PNP report, Revilla had complained of severe headache and hypertension around 4 pm of February 14, the day that he was photographed making an unauthorized visit to Enrile. It was Enrile's birthday.
The head of Revilla's security team, Senior Inspector Cecilia Tapaoan, in her affidavit said she sought the assistance of the PNP General Hospital through a phone call to treat Revilla. Upon getting the clearance of Superintendent Eulogio Fabro, chief of the PNP Custodial Center, Revilla was brought to the hospital at around 4:25 pm.
But instead of going the emergency room, Tapaoan said she brought the accused senator to the specialty ward for security reasons.
Revilla "accidentally met" Enrile while he was being brought back to the Custodial Center, according to Tapaoan's affidavit. It was then that Enrile allegedly asked Revilla to sit in the common area for Enrile's visitors.
Tapaoan said she warned Revilla not to talk to others persons but he did not heed her advice.
Revilla was brought back to the Custodial Center at 4:55 pm.
The other side
However, Chief Inspector doctor Raymond Santos, officer-in-charge of the PNP General Hospital, denied that Custodial Center officials coordinated with the hospital for the transfer of Revilla.
In his sworn statement, Santos said Fabro and Tapaoan asked him to report to them the day after the news on Revilla's visit came out.
During their meeting, Santos said the Custodial Center officials asked him if they could state in their report that they had called the emergency room and it was Santos who directed them to bring Revilla to the hospital. Santos did not grant their request, the police report said.
The PNP also found that the attending physician never received any calls from the Custodial Center, contrary to the claims of Tapaoan.
"Even if Santos did direct Tapaoan to do so, he should have been brought to the emergency room and not to the specialty ward," the PNP said.
After the controversy erupted, police spokesperson Chief Supertindent Generoso Cerbo Jr had told the media that the meeting between Revilla and Enrile was only "accidental."
The PNP said their investigation later revealed that Cerbo's comments were based on the initial report of Police Chief Superintendent Alberto Supapo.
Supapo was one of the officials relieved over the incident while administrative sanctions have been recommended for Tapaoan, Fabro, and PO2 Jaydie Pelagio for providing false testimonies.
Tapoan and Fabro "seemed to have connived to facilitate the visit of accused Senator Revilla to Senator Enrile and tried to cover it up by requesting the attending physician, PCINSP Santos to change his statement," the PNP said.
In its comment to the court, the PNP sought to stress that the incident was isolated and was "not the act of the PNP organization."
"The PNP assures the public that there is no VIP treatment given to detainees at the Custodial Center and will not countenance such transgression in the future," the PNP said. – Angela Casauay/Rappler.com