Transfer Ka Bel to a Hospital outside Camp Crame, Doctors Recommend to Court

Psychiatrist’s findings

A psychiatric evaluation prepared by Dr. Michael P. Sionzon on April 6 strongly recommended Beltran’s transfer to another hospital outside the PNP premises.

Sionzon noted Beltran’s recurring nightmares during the first few days of his illegal detention.

“According to Mr. Beltran, the sight of his old cell triggered flashbacks of the torture he experienced during his previous detention [during Martial Law]. On the first few days after his arrest, he was hypervigilant and anxious. He constantly feared that he might be
tortured again and that his body might not be able to stand such abuse as when he was younger. He also feared that he might be assassinated anytime while inside his cell,” Sionzon wrote.

While Sionzon noted that Beltran’s illegal detention has not demoralized or caused Beltran to be depressed, it has caused him to be overly anxious about the unfinished business he left as a congressman.

“Mr. Beltran’s conviction in his principles have steeled him against developing pathologic anxiety or depressive disorders which may be common in the setting he is in…His anxiety mostly comes from his apprehension that he may not be able to carry on with his work any longer when there is still much he has to do. This seems to be where his fear of not being able to withstand torture and of being assassinated comes from. These anxieties were mostly present when he was previously kept inside the maximum security facility in the CIDG compound,” Sionzon wrote.

“His transfer to the PNP Hospital [after the maximum security facility] offered some relief. Although he still has some anxiety regarding his safety, he affirms that his present detention is part of the risks that are inherent in being an activist. Flashbacks of the
torture [have] abated but he still admits that fears about a possible assassination still remain,” Sionzon said.

Transfer would give less anxiety

The psychiatric evaluation issued by Sionzon also recommended Beltran’s transfer because this would considerably decrease Beltran’s state of anxiety and recurring nightmares.

“It is further recommended that safekeeping in another facility or a transfer to another hospital would be more conducive to his health since his fears of assassination would decrease if he were outside the PNP compound,” Sionzon recommended.

“Given his overall health condition of being elderly with a history of hypertension and cerebrovascular disease, a return to his cell might be hazardous. Although the anxiety that he experienced during his detention there was not pathological per se, the autonomic responses accompanying it might precipitate another cerebrovascular event,”
Sionzon wrote.

Sionzon’s recommendation was affirmed by the other examining physicians.

“We also recommend his transfer to a safe and non-hostile environment to avoid the stressful condition and mental anguish that will trigger and aggravate his medical condition,” the three doctors from HAHR emphasized.

DOJ wants Beltran in Crame

Despite these findings on Beltran’s health and psychological disposition, the Department of Justice (DOJ) remains intent on keeping him in Camp Crame.

In the April 7 court hearing at the MRTC Branch 137, Senior State Prosecutors Emmanuel Velasco, Aileen Marie Gutierrez, and Joselita Mendoza filed an Opposition to the Omnibus Motion filed by the PILC.

The DOJ Prosecution Team argued that Beltran should remain in the custody of the Philippine National Police and be confined at the Camp Crame Hospital

“We maintain that [Beltran] should remain in Camp Crame Hospital rather than be transferred to the protective custody of the House of Representatives where there are no adequate facilities and doctors to attend to his medical problems,” Velasco wrote in their Opposition to the Omnibus Motion.

Beltran’s lawyers, however, are batting for a transfer to another hospital with adequate facilities.

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