House arrest is best for Arroyo’s healing, doctors tell court

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Former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo: Healing. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s health will recover if she is put under house arrest, the head of the Philippine Medical Association said Wednesday.

Dr. Leo Olarte supported the petition of doctors Ernesto Panaca and Antonio Sison, Arroyo’s attending physician at the Veteran’s Memorial Medical Center (VMMC), that she be given time off detention for her to recover her health.

In pleadings filed before the Sandiganbayan, the two doctors said the former President’s health had not improved after she had an operation to support her spine.

“Wherever healing is favorable and the environment for healing is favorable, we are always amenable to put the patient in a place where the environment is favorable to healing,” Olarte said.

He said a house arrest for Arroyo would be the “most favorable environment for the patient to recover if she is still sick.

“There are situations when the hospital is not a good environment for recuperation. A patient could be exposed to infection,” Olarte said.

“But of course, that is up to the discretion of the court or the judgment and discretion of the Sandiganbayan. Let it be,” he added.

Arroyo is currently detained at the VMMC in Quezon City. She is charged with plunder before the Sandiganbayan for allegedly misusing the intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office when she was still the country’s president.

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