Palace to Arroyo: Have great week, happy birthdayBy Gil Cabacungan, Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
In the spirit of the Lenten season, Malacañang has wished detained former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona a purposeful Holy Week.
“To Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and to Chief Justice Corona, we hope your observance of Holy Week will be meaningful,” said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte at Tuesday’s news briefing.
Asked by a reporter if the Palace would ask them to repent, Valte said Malacañang was of a mind that “repentance or confession is a personal decision, we will leave it up to them.”
As for militant groups that had been staging protests recently, including the viral “Noynoying” that has put President Benigno Aquino III on the defensive, Valte said: “To our friends in the militant groups, it’s up to them how they would mark Holy Week.”
Some militant groups had reportedly planned protests over Holy Week.
As for Arroyo, Valte wished her better health as she celebrates her 65th birthday on Maundy Thursday.
“Well, advanced happy birthday and get well soon. I hope that she feels, that her condition continues to improve as it has the past few months,” Valte said.
Arroyo, who stands accused of electoral sabotage, is detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center where her health is being closely monitored. Electoral sabotage is a nonbailable offense.
The former president is also facing graft charges in the Sandiganbayan in connection with her alleged involvement in the canceled $329-million NBN-ZTE deal.
Corona, a close ally of Arroyo’s, was impeached by the House of Representatives where he was charged with multiple violations of the Constitution. He also led the Supreme Court in issuing a temporary restraining order against a government travel ban on Arroyo, which would have allowed her to leave the country before she could be charged.
From her hospital suite, Arroyo on Tuesday called for “forgiveness,” “unity” and the “healing of all wounds” this Lent.
In a statement, she said: “To our countrymen, let us pray for forgiveness this Lenten season and continue to be inspired by the love bestowed on us by Jesus and the sacrifice He made to redeem our sins.”
She added in Filipino: “I hope there will be no more strife or grief caused by disunity. It is my fervent hope that we will be truly united in the pursuit of long lasting happiness and prosperity. Let us pray so hard that wounds will be healed soon, with faith and resolve to help one another and move as a nation towards a brighter future.”
Arroyo turns 65 on April 5, Maundy Thursday. She said her birthday wish was for “Divine Providence to protect our country and all Filipinos from any calamities, disasters and hardships that may come our way.”