Palace will pay Arroyo’s hospital bills
The cost of detaining former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City will be paid out of the contingency fund of the Office of the President, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said Sunday.
Abad said the contingency fund, whose approving authority is the Office of the President, is used for “unforeseen expenditures” of the government.
He said he did not know how much the government would be spending for the hospital detention of Arroyo, adding that Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo would be the one to make that assessment.
Abad said the government would be paying for Arroyo’s food, accommodations and security at the hospital.
As for the medical treatment of Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative and who is said to be also suffering from colitis, the budget secretary said the former president herself may have to shell out money for this cost as she had been doing since being confined at St. Luke’s Medical Center at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
“(Arroyo) has been placed under the custody of the government. The government has to pay for the cost of keeping her at the hospital,” Abad said in a phone interview.
A Pasay City regional trial court hearing the election sabotage case filed against Arroyo had ordered her transfer to the VMMC by Tuesday at the latest.
Basic services covered
Malacañang reiterated that the government would only pay for the “basic services” needed by Arroyo at the hospital.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that outside of the cost of these basic services, it would be the camp of Arroyo that should do the spending.
Interviewed Sunday over dzRB radio, Valte also said she had not asked President Benigno Aquino III if he planned to visit Arroyo at the hospital as Arroyo did when former President Joseph Estrada was detained at the same hospital when he was facing plunder charges.
Asked how Arroyo would be able to perform her duties as Pampanga representative if the court has prevented her from using cell phones and laptops while under hospital arrest, Valte said it was up to her camp to find a way “to enable her to do her duties.”
She said Arroyo’s lawyers were reportedly planning to petition the court on this matter.
“So it’s up to the court to determine its response to the request made by the camp of Ms. Arroyo,” Valte said.
Foreign doctor coming
Meanwhile, foreign doctor is flying in to talk to Arroyo about her medical condition, a lawyer for the detained former president said.
According to Ferdinand Topacio, the doctor would be consulted by some of her local doctors regarding her condition.
Topacio said he got the information while waiting to meet with the former president in her room at St. Luke’s Medical Center, where Arroyo’s husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo, was talking to his wife about these “medical matters.”
He said he did not know who the doctor was, but understood that the scheduled meeting was for a “second opinion” on Arroyo’s illness.
Asked how the former president was, Topacio said she was “still weak.”
He said that while talking to her in her room, Arroyo was “lying down” and not “sitting up in bed” or in her wheelchair.
He said she was still wearing a brace, but she was no longer being given intravenous medications.
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