Saguisag stable, wife dies in car accident

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — Former senator Rene Saguisag is in stable condition following a road accident early Thursday, according to a 4 p.m. medical bulletin released by the Makati Medical Center where he is confined.

Saguisag has “responded favorably to treatment he has been receiving for injuries” and that the former senator “is now more awake,” it said.

Dr. Eric Nubla, head of the patient-relations office, also said a surgery would be “less likely” although Saguisag, who can now talk, has to stay at the Intensive Care Unit.

Saguisag’s driver, Felipe Calvario, who is also at the ICU, is also in stable condition, according to Nubla.

Earlier in the day, Nubla said Saguisag suffered severe trauma to the head and chest as a result of the accident.

He said at least five doctors, including a neuro-surgeon, orthopedic, and a cardiologist, were attending to Saguisag.

Saguisag, his wife Dulce, Rhea Obong, a dance instructor, and their driver figured in an accident along the Osmeña Highway at about 1 a.m. when a dump truck smashed into their Toyota Grandia.

Saguisag’s wife was declared dead on arrival when they were first brought to the Ospital ng Makati while the former senator and the driver were transferred to the Makati Medical Center for further treatment.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has expressed her condolences to Saguisag, a lawyer for the opposition and counsel of deposed president Joseph Estrada.

Among the friends of the former lawmaker who had visited him were former Senate president Jovito Salonga, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, and Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada.

Salonga urged the public to pray for his colleague.

“I’m praying for his immediate recovery. Let us all pray for him,” said Salonga in an interview.

Saguisag’s wife was secretary general of the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines. She was secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development under Estrada and was an advocate against breast cancer.

A profile of the former senator posted on the website of the Senate says he was born on Aug. 14, 1939 in Mauban, Quezon and obtained his undergraduate and law degrees from San Beda College and his Master of Laws from Harvard University in 1968.

He later became a human rights lawyer and then spokesman for candidate and president-elect Corazon Aquino, the profile said.

As senator from 1987-92, Saguisag chaired the committee on ethics and privileges and an ad hoc committee on the Bataan nuclear power plant, the profile added.