Sunday, October 15, 2023

Doc Iggy Agbayani letter to his fellow doctors

This is Doc Iggy Agbayani's letter to the Supreme Court. He drafted this around September 16 or a month ago.

An open letter to my fellow Filipino Doctors and Friends

“There can be no Reckless Imprudence (a criminal complaint) if it is not voluntarily done. It can only be voluntary if there was no legal obligation, no compulsion, nor persuasion and made without payment or recompense in any form a voluntary conveyance.” 

I write as a prisoner of Manila City Jail and a doctor. I am not a lawyer but I have studied my case thoroughly with all the focus and benefit of time in jail. I am a licensed Physician and a highly trained and experienced Orthopedic Surgeon that still believes in the freedom of speech and of true Justice. As a human being I value independent and critical thinking because they are keys to our better perception of the truth.

I blame the complainant, a lawyer who teaches criminal law and married to a physician, for intentionally filing a malicious accusation to make sure I suffered severely through sixteen years of litigation and harassment and my eventual conviction affirmed with finality by the third division of the Supreme Court. 

I know in my heart and mind that a grave injustice had been foisted upon me because I am not guilty of any crime. Well-meaning lawyers have told me that it is nearly impossible to reverse the decisions of the SC. But I live in hope - in humanity and justice despite my experience, and because I have seen so many people, some who I don’t even know, wanting to help me fight for my cause of seeking Justice not just for me but now also for the protection of the Medical profession. 

I have been convicted of reckless imprudence and sentenced to jail for one year and a day. I have now served three months and twenty five days of this sentence in one of the most congested city jails in the world. As you can imagine, this conviction has caused me and my family not only of mental suffering and humiliation but also of tremendous anxiety for my future as a surgeon and doctor. 

I believe it is the first of its kind for a case of Reckless Imprudence to prosper in the courts as a result of a medical complication. This idea was further enhanced when veteran jail officers here in Manila City Jail told me that this was the first time to their knowledge, that a doctor, due to his profession, was convicted for reckless imprudence. And that such cases of reckless imprudence are almost always due to vehicular accidents. This was a complete eye opener for me and so I began my research and study while in jail.

The records show that the surgical instruments I used have been sterilized and all steps to avoid infection was adhered to by me and nursing staff. As a Doctor and Surgeon of more than thirty years, I can sincerely confirm that infections do occur almost routinely and likely even daily in all hospitals of Manila despite our best efforts because there are factors beyond our control such as the hospital, the sterility of the instruments used and the factors associated with the patient himself. No surgeon can claim honestly that a post-operation infection will never occur. 

In my opinion, the most important and significant root cause of error or injustice in my case is the use of Reckless imprudence resulting in serious physical injury to charge me. Reckless imprudence requires that the act must be done "voluntarily". The law states: "Reckless imprudence consists in voluntarily, but without malice, doing or failing to do an act from which material damage results." No matter the outcome, be it slight, severe or even death, the manner or the circumstances in which the act or cause was done is what defines it to be a crime or of the nature of civil damages.

By definition, the word voluntarily as it is used in law means:

a. Acting or done without legal obligation, compulsion, or persuasion b. made without payment or recompense in any form a voluntary conveyance."  

A patient consults a doctor for a health problem in the hope of finding a cure. Persuading or compensating a doctor to act based on the agreement between patient and doctor is not a voluntary action but a joint agreement or partnership with the patient.

My case is entirely different from a true case of reckless imprudence where for example a pedestrian accidentally, and therefore without malice, gets hit by a driver-bearing vehicle and suffers physical injury as a result. A civil case of malpractice, negligence or incompetence on the other hand may be the right cases to file under because the alleged cause is not an act done in a voluntary manner. It is also clearly understood that payment or compensation was expected and was done so with a fully informed consent by the complainant. The treatment or action offered is based on the information offered by the complainant/patient and subsequently agreed upon by both parties.

Moreover, I learned that in a published Supreme Court decision  of a reckless impudence resulting in serious physical case, defined the sentence of such a crime to be a fixed two months and one day. Yet I am still here in jail now for more than three months and still counting

In my opinion the courts may have committed an oversight by putting more weight on legal or procedural technicalities rather than my substantive human rights. Pointing out for example that it was my lawyer who was faulted by the courts for causing the loss of my statutory privilege of appealing my case in both the RTC and the CA. In doing so they also took my right to a fair trial that in my mere knowledge of the Law should be given automatically to those accused of criminal cases. And despite putting the blame on my lawyer, all punishment was given to me alone. And yet again I discovered recently in another Supreme Court ruling, a criminal conviction was reversed on the grounds that a lawyer’s inability to perform his duties should not be cause for any accused to lose his constitutionally given right to liberty.

I therefore with hope and good intention that you my fellow doctors, individually or through the various medical and surgical organizations, to read and share this open letter to help us Doctors understand what has happened to me. I sincerely believe that by our awareness we will be able to protect our beloved profession better against predators and opportunist who are already using my case as a legal precedent to file a criminal cases for any complication arising from any of our treatment or surgery. It is time we Doctors heal and protect ourselves too, but eventually for the good of our patients. 


Dr. Benigno “Iggy” Agbayani Jr.


Dr Benigno “Iggy” Agbayani, passed away last October 5, 2023 at Manila City Jail, while continually fighting for justice for the medical community and improving the health conditions of the rest of  the unfortunate persons deprived of liberty.

I am adding one photo of doc Iggy below, him talking to Cong. Lito Atienza. Plus Francis Abraham (between the two) and me.


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