DOY LAUREL SEEKS EXTENDED TRIP FOR MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS

Alabang, Muntinlupa, July 31, 2003 By Delon Porcalla (Star) Former Vice President Salvador "Doy" Laurel, who has been indicted for graft in the P9.6-billion Expo Pilipino scam, asked the Sandiganbayan yesterday to allow him to extend his travel abroad until Aug. 15 so he could seek a second opinion for his lymphoma in Vancouver, Canada.

In a three-page motion, Laurelís lawyers Leon Asa and Jose Oliveros told the anti-graft courtís fifth division that the former Vice President needs the expert opinion of Dr. Joseph Connors, who heads the Lymphoma Tumor Group of the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver.

Laurel has been at the Stanford Hospital and Clinic in California where he was diagnosed to be suffering from a certain type of lymphoma after a month and a half of almost daily tests.

Before he left the country, Filipino doctors diagnosed Laurel to be suffering from "severe anemia secondary myelophthisis."

His doctor, Rosalio Torres, a hematologist at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Alabang, Muntinlupa, said an examination of the 74-year-old statesman showed that he has severe anemia and low platelet count.

Laurelís hemoglobin, Torres added, was recorded at only 66 grams per liter, much lower than the normal level of 140 grams per liter.

Since Laurelís discharge from the hospital last April 9, Torres said he "has been having on and off fever" and complained of "body weakness."

Last June 9, Torres said Laurel "felt dizzy and complained of chest pains."

The Sandiganbayan finally allowed Laurel to seek medical treatment in the United States last June 28.

The former National Centennial Commission chairman was charged with graft for allegedly pumping up the budget for the Expo Pilipino amphitheater from P248 million to P1.165 billion.

The Sandiganbayanís fifth division remanded the graft case to the Office of the Ombudsman last May 20 after finding out that Laurel was given a copy of the Ombudsmanís decision holding him liable for graft on the same day that he was indicted.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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