Sandigan ends hospital detention of ex-Antique gov, sends him to jail

MANILA, Philippines – A division of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan ordered on Monday, October 3, an end to the years-long hospital detention of former Antique Governor Jovito Plameras. 

Plameras was originally sentenced to serve 6 to 10 years in the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City, but the Sandiganbayan Special Third Division considered certifications issued by doctors that he might not be healthy enough to fly from the province. 

The 81-year-old ex-governor has been committed to the Antique provincial jail instead.

The 4-page resolution that overruled the continued hospital detention of Plameras was penned by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje Tang. Associate justices Samuel Martires and Sarah Jane Fernandez concurred.  

In May 2000, Plameras was charged for making a false certification of full delivery of supplies. The provincial government paid supplier CKL Enterprises in full, P5.67 million, for 1,354 grade school desks and 5,246 armchairs in May 1997.

However, auditors found that only 1,294 desks and 1,838 armchairs were delivered.

Plameras was convicted of graft on December 2, 2008. He challenged the guilty verdict, but the Supreme Court affirmed his conviction on September 4, 2013.

He said, however, that he suffered a stroke on August 11, 2014, and needed therapy to cure the partial paralysis on the left side of his body.

The Philippine National Police tried to take custody of the former governor on April 6, 2015, but he was rushed to the Angel Salazar Memorial General Hospital, where he was diagnosed for hypertension, his lawyers said.

Plameras had admitted he was worried by reports that “the situation of the National Bilibid Prison is deplorable.”

Dr Lester Dizmon of Western Visayas Medical Center – the government doctor who examined Plameras to validate the certification by his private doctor – confirmed that the patient has a history of stroke, and recommended further evaluation and diagnostics before Plameras can be flown to Manila.

“Considering the testimony of Dr [Samuel] Tonogan and the medical report of Dr Dizmon…there is no more imperative need for the continued hospital detention of the accused. The medical findings merely show that the accused is not fit to travel by air,” the Sandiganbayan said.

“Wherefore, the Court hereby orders the commitment of the accused Jovito C. Plameras to the Provincial Jail of Antique.” –