Medical woes hound Napoles
Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Napoles gets a day out of detention: to take her medical tests in a police hospital. Are the results alarming?

CHECK-UP. Janet Lim Napoles undergoes tests at the Camp Crame General Hospital in February. Rappler file photo

MANILA, Philippines – Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles gets a day out of detention: to take her medical tests in a police hospital.

She earlier filed a motion for medical examination following the discovery of a 3-centimeter ovarian cyst in September 2013. Are the results alarming?
Bea Cupin reports.

The woman at the center of the pork barrel scam steps out of her detention center for the first time this year.

Two convoys bring Janet Lim Napoles, to the Camp Crame General Hospital where she takes a battery of tests.

Napoles is the alleged mastermind in the country’s biggest corruption scandal to date. A Makati court grants Napoles’ motion to conduct a medical examination after she complains of hypoglycemia, drastic weight loss, chest pains, severe abdominal pains, and profuse menstrual bleeding.

Napoles is currently detained in a Laguna police camp for the illegal detention of a former aide who blew the whistle on her, Benhur Luy. She also faces plunder charges for the pork barrel scam.

Test taken in October 2013 showed an ovarian tumor and a drop in Napoles’ hemoglobin count. Blood tests also show elevated levels of CA 125, a biomarker for ovarian cancer. Napoles has been denied bail twice, and her camp says this short trip out of Fort Sto Domingo is crucial to her well-being.

In Camp Crame, the physical examination takes over 2 hours — blood extractions, a transvaginal ultrasound, and a pap smear. The results of the ultrasound contradict the October 2013 CT Scan.

CHIEF SUPT ALEJANDRO ADVINCULA, HEALTH SERVICES DIRECTOR: Kung babasihan natin yung resulta noong last year at yung resulta this year, magkaiba. Para lang may kuan kayo. Initially ang impression noon is right ovarian cyst. Ngayon naman may bukol, pero hindi naman sa ovary sa may uterus naman. (If we compare last year’s results and this year’s results – they are different. Initially the results showed an impression of a right ovarian cyst. Now, there’s a lump, but it’s in the uterus, not the ovary.)

PNP doctors say Napoles “has an idea” of the results of the ultrasound but refuse to give details.

DR. MICHELLE DAGUNO, CAMP CRAME GENERAL HOSPITAL OB-GYN: Noong nalaman po niya, medyo concerned lang po siya. Okay naman po na nawala yung bukol sa ovary na nakita, I believe noong September. So ngayon po, ina-no naman namin siya na hindi naman po siya ganoon ka-alarming. (When she found out, she was concerned. But we told her that it wasn’t that alarming.)

PNP doctors emphasize: there is no imminent threat to her life.

CHIEF SUPT ALEJANDRO ADVINCULA, HEALTH SERVICES DIRECTOR: Iisa lang naman ibig sabihin noon. Hindi alarming at this point of time, walang problema. Hindi po, hindi po siya icoconfine. As a matter of fact, siya po ang ibabalik na doon sa kanyang lugar sa 4-A (The test results only mean one thing: it’s not alarming at this point in time, there are no problems. She will not be confined. As a matter of fact, she is on her way back to her detention center in Laguna.)

Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 allows Napoles’ camp to take the test results to a different hospital for a second opinion.

Her lawyers say they may ask the court to let her take another a “special test” to better understand her medical condition. But another trip out of Laguna won’t come cheap.
With 100 members of the PNP deployed, officials estimate Napoles’ trips from Laguna to Manila costs P120,000 each.

The results of the exam come out Wednesday afternoon but the PNP says they will not release the results to the public.

If the alleged pork barrel queen has an illness how will it impact on her detention, and more importantly, her case?
Will this be a turning point in the saga of the poster-girl for corruption?
Bea Cupin, Rappler, Manila. –

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