RELATIVES of the suspected drug personality who died inside the Tuburan District Hospital will take legal action against the police officers who shot him during an anti-narcotics operation last Feb. 8.
Lawyer Vincent Isles of Cebu Action Group said they were helping the family of Casas, who was also interested in filing a complaint against the hospital.
The family questioned the police operation against Casas and the hospital staff’s failure to treat him right away.
“Medyo hadlok pud ang pamilya ba (The family is quite scared),” Isles said. “Ila pung gi-consider ang possibilities karon kon mo-prosper ba kay ug dili mo-prosper, nganong maghago-hago pa man ta (They’re considering the possibilities of their case prospering; otherwise, they’ll just be wasting their time)? We are still keeping our options open,” Isles said.
The video of the bloodied Gembe Casas writhing in pain while the hospital staff looked on caught the attention of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who ordered the Department of Health (DOH) 7 to write an incident report.
The video was taken by one on-duty nurse, who shared it with friends from another shift. The nurse’s friends then uploaded the video on the Internet.
Provincial Health Office (PHO) Chief Rene Catan said his office would draft a formal report on the matter, which would be submitted to their grievance committee.
They would submit the same report to the DOH 7 and the Commission on Human Rights 7, he said.
“It was beyond the call of their position to really upload it because you can even be charged in court for just taking a video inside an operating room. In fact, several persons have already been charged,” Catan said in Cebuano.
Casas died an hour after the video was taken. He was buried on Sunday, Feb. 17.
The PHO, which formally began its investigation on the incident on Monday, Feb. 18, said the inquiry would not go through the committee on discipline and investigation (Codi) because the nurses were not regular government employees.
Meeting with the governor
“It will be our grievance committee that will form findings and recommendations. Final execution of the recommendations... will be by the governor,” Catan said.
Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III and Catan met with the three nurses, who were suspended last Feb. 10, at noon on Monday. The closed-door meeting was held at the governor’s conference room.
“That was why I was angry. Why did they have to take a video of the patient who was obviously suffering in pain? People who saw the video ended up getting the impression that Casas didn’t receive treatment,” Davide said in Cebuano.
Meanwhile, the PHO said it was considering the possibility that another person took the video and uploaded it on social media.
“That’s another angle that we’re looking into. There were reportedly a lot of people when the patient was brought in,” Davide said in Cebuano.
Catan reiterated that the hospital’s medical personnel followed their standard protocol when they attended to Casas.
“The nurses and the physicians didn’t commit any lapses. They did their best based on their capability and capacity as medical professionals. If you really look at it (the video), it really gave the public a bad impression. But if you took that one-minute video in the context of the entire incident, then you’d see that everything was done properly based on procedure,” he said in Cebuano.
Tuburan District Hospital Chief Esteban Ligaray had already submitted a preliminary investigation report on the incident.
Catan said they would take the report at face value.
“There were nurses who were not involved. They had information. They didn’t want to get embroiled in the controversy. The situation is really serious, and it’ll be unfair if those who had nothing to do with the incident will be affected. That is why we need to investigate for the purpose of due process,” Catan said in Cebuano.
The three suspended nurses will possibly face a criminal complaint for violating the Data Privacy Act.
The Professional Regulation Commission also said it would revoke their license if they were found guilty. (From AZLG of SuperBalita Cebu, KAL, RTF)