A PHILIPPINES judge, sitting in Manila this week, ordered a psychiatric team to examine the Bolivian painter, Benjamin Mendoza Y Amor. to determine whether he was mentally fit to stand trial on charges that he attempted to murder Pope Paul at Manila Airport on November 27.
During Monday's 15-minute hearing Mendoza stood up and tried to read a statement. He had got as far as "The world is full of superstition" when Judge Pedro Bautista broke in and told him that if he had
anything to say he should convey his statement through his counsel.
The judge then adjourned the hearing until January 4 while awaiting the team's decision.
The counsel, Senor Celso Fernandez, explaining his client's behaviour to the court, said Mendoza had told him that he wanted to explain his side by reading the prepared statement and displaying some of his paintings in open court. The lawyer said he had advised Mendoza that he believed this would be irregular.
"I think this is where the diagnostic team comes in," Judge Bautista said, and adjourned the session.
The session opened with Senor Fernandez asking the court to rule on his petition that Mendoza should be subjected to further psychiatric examination to determine if he should face attempted murder charges or be admitted to a mental institution with the charges dismissed.
After the session was adjourned, Mendoza was asked by journalists outside the courtroom what kind of a statement he had intended to read in court. He said: "My purpose is strictly ideological, in order to clarify, to give the right line to the world at this present time. suffering of all kinds of hunger, as anybody can see, poverty, hate and wars."
Mendoza, a surrealist painter, then showed some of the drawings he had been sketching while in confinement. He said one of them represented "the metamorphosis of man."