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MANILA, Philippines - Chief Justice Renato Corona has been transferred to the intensive care unit of the Medical City hospital in Pasig City because of a possible heart attack.
Supreme Court spokesman Midas Marquez confirmed the news in a text message to media early Wednesday morning. In an interview with DZMM, Marquez said that doctors ordered Corona's transfer to the ICU after his Troponin T level was found to be elevated -- an indicator for several heart disorders.
Corona was coming off a controversial appearance before the Senate impeachment court where he spoke for three hours to refute points raised against him in the trial and in media. At the end of his monologue, Corona abruptly stood up and strode out, to the surprise of senator-judges and observers.
About 45 minutes later, Corona was wheeled back out before the court, while his lawyers and family members claimed that he left abruptly because of his hypoglycemia.
Corona, a diabetic, was taken to the Medical City late Tuesday.
Defense spokeswoman Karen Jimeno earlier said the trip to the hospital was not an excuse to avoid returning to the impeachment court.
"It's unfair to make that analogy. As you can see (lead defense lawyer, retired) Justice (Serafin) Cuevas was already ready to conduct a direct exam early today. Doctors also confirmed that his blood sugar was low. He's not trying to flee," Jimeno said in an earlier phone interview with InterAksyon.com.
"How can he evade when this is proof that he wants to get better?"
Marquez said Corona had fully intended to come back to the impeachment court on Wednesday. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile earlier told Corona's lawyers that if the Chief Justice did not come back to the witness stand, the court would go ahead and issue a verdict without him.
Marquez added that he expects Corona's attending physician's to issue a medical bulletin on Wednesday morning.