Singer plans to sue hospital for releasing private informationBy Kristine Felisse Mangunay
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines – He was given a second chance at life after the robbery. Now, he fears that might just be taken away.
Thus, a professional singer who was robbed and wounded in an attack in Mandaluyong City on Wednesday is bent on filing charges against the administration of the private hospital where he was treated because, he said, it leaked his personal information, including his address, to the media.
Joel Mendoza, 44, a Viva Records recording artist, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer he was studying what charges to file against the administration of the Victor R. Potenciano Medical Center in Mandaluyong City, whose disclosure, he said, made him prone to “retributory violence” from his attackers.
Mendoza added, however, that he was not pressing charges against some 10 tabloids that published his complete address, on grounds that what they did was part of “freedom of expression.”
Hours after the attack last Wednesday, Mendoza said in a radio interview that he was pistol-whipped three times in the head as the robbers divested him of P20,000 as he emerged from an automatic teller machine on Libertad Street around 4 a.m. One of the robbers was about to shoot him when his driver, Arnold Joseph Raflores, who was in his car parked nearby, came to his rescue by kicking the gun away.
Mendoza told his radio interviewer that the three cuts on his head required nearly a dozen stitches.
Senior Superintendent Florendo Quibuyen, chief of police, later identified the suspects as Arvin Ordoño and an alias JR with the help of footage from a security camera. He said the two were on the Philippine National Police’s rogue gallery, having attacked other individuals in the past, including an ABS-CBN employee and her companion last year.
He said charges of robbery with frustrated homicide would be filed on Monday against the suspects, who have yet to be arrested.
According to Mendoza, he was “100 percent” sure the hospital was source of the information published by the tabloids, as a check of the hospital admission form showed that the error made in the spelling of his building’s name there was the same one that was made by the tabloids.
“Was that a coincidence? Now you tell me,” Mendoza said.
He added the media could not have gotten the information from the police, since the reports were published even before investigators obtained his personal information from him.
According to Mendoza, as a result of the disclosure, he and his driver cannot help but fear for their lives, considering the fact that the suspects are still at large.
He said that since he was discharged from the hospital on Thursday, he has not left his condominium much.
He was supposed to file criminal charges against his attackers on Friday, but was “too scared” so this had to be delayed, he said.
The chief of police “is sending escorts to pick me up on Monday because I can’t leave my house,” he said.
He added he has sent Raflores to the province, while he is preparing to move to another unit.
Reached by phone, Virma Vergel De Dios, the hospital administrator, said it was Mendoza’s right to press charges against them, but emphasized that it had not yet been confirmed that the leak had indeed come from the hospital.
She said, initially, the security officer of the hospital told her it was Raflores who kept on releasing information to the media. Nonetheless, she said, she was already conducting an investigation into the matter and would submit a report next week.
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