Ex-PCSO exec seeks house arrest for cancer treatment

MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) general manager Rosario Uriarte has asked the anti-graft Sandiganbayan to allow her to post bail or to be placed under house arrest while she undergoes cancer treatment for at least 9 months.

Uriarte who is detained for P366-million plunder charge, filed the motion before the Sandiganbayan's First Division, citing humanitarian grounds.

In her 13-page motion, Uriarte said her doctors at the St Luke's Medical Center confirmed a malignant mass in her right breast with "axillary lymph node metastasis."

Last month, Uriarte asked the court to allow her to get a biopsy for a lump in her right breast.

Dr Minda Zarra-Perez and oncologist Roselle de Guzman have recommended that she undergo chemotherapy prior to surgery. She will need hormonal treatment and possible radiotherapy after surgery.

Uriarte asked for house arrest of 9 to 10 months – 6 months of chemotherapy and 3 to 4 months of additional post-surgical treatments.

"Accused Uriarte is begging the Honorable Court that, once she is given the clearance to be discharged and begin undergoing chemotherapy treatment, that she be allowed to be confined at home in the meantime," Uriarte's lawyers said.

The defense noted that the place where Uriarte is detained – the National Bureau of Investigation – does not provide the ideal condition for Uriarte's recovery.

The lawyers also cited doctors' advice that a patient under chemotherapy is susceptible to risk of infection due to the weakening of the immune system.

"Furthermore, considering that accused Uriarte's doctors have also warned her of the potential side effects of chemotherapy, i.e. 'fatigue, risk of infection, nausea and vomiting, hair loss, loss of appetite, mouth sores, and diarrhea,' she will be able to more properly and comfortably deal with said side effects at home where she can be attended to by family," the defense said.

The defense also said that Uriarte's Quezon City residence is closer to St Luke's Medical Center, in case of any medical emergency.

As an alternative, Uriarte asked the court to grant her request for bail though she is charged with a non-bailable offense.

Uriarte cited the Supreme Court bail grant to former senator Juan Ponce Enrile who has a pending plunder case in connection with the alleged misuse of lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund or the pork barrel scam.

The High Court had earlier cited Enrile's serious medical condition as among the ground that may be considered for the grant of bail in a capital offense.

Uriarte also argued that the High Court had acquitted former president now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other defendants in the same plunder case.

"On the basis of the foregoing findings of fact, and at the very least for the purpose of resolving the issue of the existence of probable cause, it is therefore clear that there is no evidence of guilt, much less strong evidence of guilt, on the part of accused Uriarte. Consequently, it is most respectfully submitted that the Honorable Court may grant her bail immediately," the defense said. – Rappler.com