20 people troop to St. Luke’s to show support for Arroyo
Who needs bigger crowds when you have Nora Asidre, 56, who says: “I want to throw something at my television every time (people) say something against (former) President Arroyo.”
Asidre and at least 20 other people trooped to St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City on Monday, hoping to get a glimpse of embattled Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Their arrival in the late afternoon marked the first time a seemingly organized group of ordinary citizens expressing support for Arroyo assembled outside St. Luke’s since she was brought to the hospital two weeks ago.
Previously, mostly family members and political VIPs allied with the former President trickled in to pay her a visit after the Department of Justice stopped her from leaving the country despite being cleared for travel by the Supreme Court on Nov. 15.
Asidre said she would just turn off her TV set every time there were news reports or comments critical of Arroyo, who had been charged with electoral sabotage in a Pasay City court. She even went sleepless on Sunday night just thinking about it, she said.
Security guards under the Bonifacio Estates Authority, which secured the hospital’s perimeter, initially prevented the group from entering the facility en masse.
When a guard told the group to just take their “protest” action to the streets, one of the visitors shouted back: “We’re here to show our support for President Arroyo, not to cause any trouble.”
“Why are we being driven away? We are not dogs in the streets,” said Maria Fe Deliso, 31.
Deliso and Asidre both recalled what they considered to be Arroyo’s acts of generosity when she was still in power.
Deliso said Arroyo provided funding for St. Marie Eugenie Kinder School in Bagbag, Novaliches, Quezon City, where students were fed regularly and given free school supplies.
Asidre said the former President “personally” helped her community in Antipolo City in the aftermath of the 2009 killer storm “Ondoy.”
Guards managed to confine the group to the sidewalk right in front of the hospital, until a staff member of Arroyo approached them and obtained permission to escort the visitors to the hospital in smaller groups.
A few minutes later, Asidre returned from her brief audience with the former President. Asked by reporters to describe how Arroyo was, all she would say was that “she’s fine.”
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