PHILIPPINE JUDGE OVERRIDES SPECIALIST GOVERNMENT DOCTORS OPINION
At a hearing on Wednesday 8th. May,in Angeles by City, Philippines, Ken Graham, an Australian Retiree, 76 years of age was ordered back to jail from his hospital bed.,by a Regional Trial Court Judge.
Mr. Graham who had decided to retire in the Philippines with his Australian/Filipina wife had been forced to help out with his Wife
Lydia's family business of a small hotel and bar when she unexpectedly died of a heart attack in February 2012. Ken was arrested in late March in the same year at his private residence on charges ranging from Human Trafficking, operating a bar, prostitution and dancers wearing improper uniforms. to name a few.
Ken has already spent over 13 months in detention, 11 months of which have been in hospital where he has been diagnosed with Cirrhosis of the Liver Stage 4, Hypertension, Cardiac Disrythmia, Prostatic Hyperplasma, Reflux, Bronchial Asthma, Gout and Deep Vein Thrombosis. He takes 21 different types of medicine a day and has four hourly nebulization and needs regular inhalation of oxygen.
Judge Erum said that the guards reported to the Jail Warden that he looked well and their opinion overrode the Specialist Government Doctor John Kit who had not been asked for an updated report.
Ken said this was an unexpected decision as Judge Erum is well known for her correctness and integrity which is unquestionable.
Mr Graham's Attorney Francisco Yabut is filing Certiorari to the higher appeals court as he considers the decision inhumane. Dr Kit had submitted in February this year a report to the effect that it was against his patient’s interest to return to jail where his conditions would be exacerbated. Dr Kit had not been asked for his opinion at yesterday’s hearings but reconfirmed to Mr Graham that he was too sick for jail. There have been 12 hearings so far in which the prosecution has presented its case. Several of the Prosecution Witnesses who worked in the Bar, under cross examination have said that the only thing Ken did was drink in the bar and talk to his friends and stayed for a short period each night due to his medical condition...He gave no orders in the bar to staff or participated in any management but was given respect by the staff as the husband of the owner/manager.
Mr Graham originally emmigrated to the Philippines in 1975 and as his wife was Filipina considered it unnecessary to take up Philippine citizenship. The family left at country in 2002 after financial hardship caused by the closure of the tourist entertainment area where he owned and operated a hotel..On return he was given the Australian age pension. After financially recovering from the previous losses the family decided that they would return to the Philippines in 2009 as homecare costs were so much cheaper and the Lydia's family could help out in business, . The raid and closure of both the hotel and bar was devastative with the Police confiscating essential operational equipment such as computers from the English School and Internet Cafe as well as front office equipment CCTV's and music programmes and the padlocking the businesses.
During the first 27 years in the Philippines Ken Graham was active in many and charitable and service organizations. In Angeles City he became member and President of the Angeles North Rotary Club where he spent 13 years as a member. In 1982 he was awarded the honour of being the first Australian to become a adopted son of that city for his promotion of Tourism.. He joined the Skal Club (Association of Tourist Professionals) in 1979 and rose from member to President of Manila to President of the Philippines and finally President of Asia. He also represented the Philippines as International Councilor on the World Council of that body. Ken was also a member of the Philippine Council of Tourism and represented the Philippines at an International meeting in Osaka. Mr Graham was a member and Director of the Australian - New Zealand Chamber of Commerce for over 20 years.
During the 400 days of incarceration there have been only 12 hearings all evidence from the prosecution. Ken was promised a speedy trial! He said it feels like a death sentence.with his condition deteriorating. As for being sent to jail from his hospital bed to prison Ken stated that he had been to jail in June last year which nearly killed him. The conditions are deplorable. Around 64 prisoners to a cell about 12 feet by 20feet. No beds. No ventilation except a small fan for all inmates.. One meal a day inedible. The electricity is turned off for four or five hours a night. So no use of the nebulizer if an asthma attack occurs. 2 small bathrooms. As he has needs a carer to wash him and help him this help is unavailable at the prison.He will remain unwashed.No mattresses or reading lights. Dr Kit has told both him and the court that Ken could not take these conditions which would cause his condition to worsen. .
The trial is expected to take several more months. Ken's concern is that a body called the International Jurist Mission (IJM) is taking an active part in the prosecution. They are heavily funded by United States people. There have been rumours that several witnesses have been coerced into giving false testimony. There have even been American lawyers present as onlookers and advisors. Ken feels as does his attorney that he is being persecuted by the IJM. They have gone out of their way to downplay his serious illnesses. The IJM also took their Philippine attorney to United States for over a month seriously delaying the trial.
To end, it is not a pleasant story. Ken needs help as Medical, Hospital and Legal services have exhausted his resources. Thanks to his four children Don, Chris, Kristina and Sophy have tirelessly both visited him and sent money support as has his brother Robert and sister Pat.