(Metro News) Former Party-list solon taken to Manila hospital after suffering heart attack at NBI jail

March 31, 2010 11:04 pm 

MANILA, March 31 — Former Party-list Rep. Jaime Zarraga, who was arrested by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents last Monday for alleged syndicated estafa and illegal recruitment, was taken to a Manila hospital after he suffered a heart attack at the NBI jail on Wednesday morning.

NBI Assistant Regional Director Roland Argabioso, chief of the Field Operations Division (FOD), said Zarraga, of Hanay ng Aping Pinoy (HAPI) Partylist, is now confined at the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Manila Doctors Hospital in Ermita, Manila.

Argabioso said Zarraga was arrested on the strength of warrants issued by various regional and municipal trial courts from Makati City and Nueva Vizcaya.

NBI agents belonging to FOD arrested Zarraga last Monday at the Bulwagan ng Katarungan in Pasig City after he testified in a hearing of a case before one of the Pasig regional trial courts.

He reportedly claimed to be the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Voice of Manila (VOM) Broadcasting Corp. which filed a case in connection with some broadband wireless access frequency issue.

“We already turned him over to the bureau jail. We were told that he complained of difficulty of breathing,” Argabioso said.

The NBI doctors attending to the detained former congressman immediately suggested that he be brought to a hospital.

Zarraga was rushed first to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and then transferred to the Manila Doctors Hospital.

“We only enforced the service of warrants. The warrants were issued as early as 1995, with the bulk issued in 1996, or more than a decade ago,” Argabioso said.

It was learned that the warrants were not served for such a long period because Zarraga could not be located and was even rumored to have flown overseas to elude arrest.

It was only recently that the NBI discovered that Zarraga had been hiding in Metro Manila after operatives tracking him down had monitored recent media reports identifying him as the representative of small broadcasting companies called Voice of Manila (VOM) Broadcasting Corporation and Exodus Broadcasting.

VOM was reported to have sued the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) over a broadband wireless access (BWA) frequency issue.

Following this lead, the NBI was able to eventually trace Zarraga’s whereabouts and successfully implemented a plan leading to his arrest.

After his arrest, Zarraga was detained at the NBI jail. The charge of large-scale illegal recruitment is non-bailable. (PNA) scs/JES

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