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Pasay judge summons Arroyo doctor

GLORIA ARROYO’S DOCTORS. Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s doctors— (from left) Roberto Mirasol, Juliet Gopez-Cervantes and Mario Ver—leave the courtroom after the hearing on Friday in Pasay City. Arroyo, who tried to leave the country on medical grounds while the government scrambled to file charges against her, is well enough to leave the hospital where she was arrested last week, according to her doctors. AP

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s chief physician has been summoned by the Pasay court yet again to testify on her patient’s reportedly inflamed colon which her lawyers have cited as a ground for the continued hospital detention of the Pampanga representative who has been charged with the nonbailable offense of electoral sabotage.

Pasay Judge Jesus Mupas has ordered Dr. Juliet Gopez-Cervantes to bring with her to court on Thursday Arroyo’s files and laboratory results pertaining to the colitis—an inflammation and infection of the large intestines—that she reportedly developed last week.

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The order was served by court sheriff Rodelio Buenviaje early Tuesday at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig where Arroyo has been confined under hospital arrest since the Pasay court ordered her arrested last week.

3 matters to explain

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“She has three matters to explain before the court,” Buenviaje told reporters after serving the summons. “This will determine whether [the court will] extend the stay of the former president under hospital arrest.”

Arroyo’s spokesperson Elena Bautista Horn sent a text message to reporters Tuesday, quoting what she said was a medical update given by Cervantes herself.

The update detailed when Arroyo developed colitis as indicated by “a recurrence of diarrhea since the afternoon of November 25 accompanied by crampy abdominal pain.”

On Saturday, doctors examined her stool and the following day, she underwent colonoscopy where Cervantes found the “progression of colitis,” the text message said.

No trier of facts

After the diagnosis, Cervantes said Arroyo was given antibiotics through an IV drip. The medication was to be administered in the next five days.

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Aside from the medication, Arroyo was also being rehydrated to replenish the water that she had lost as a result of the diarrhea.

While the Supreme Court has decided not to summon Arroyo’s doctors as it is not a “trier of facts,” Arroyo’s lawyers said they have asked the Pasay court to issue a subpoena for them to testify on Arroyo’s medical condition to support their bid to have her placed under house arrest to enable her to recuperate, lawyer Raul Lambino said.

If granted house arrest, Arroyo could either stay in her La Vista, Quezon City house, her house in Lubao, Pampanga, or a sibling’s house in Forbes Park, Makati, which has the advantage of being close to St. Luke’s, he said.

Relaxed, calmer but in pain

“She is more relaxed and calmer now although she is still in pain. She does not want to stay in the hospital. She wants to go home but that decision is up to the court,” Lambino said.

“But she has been informed of the happenings in the Supreme Court and the status of the case before the Pasig RTC,” he stressed.

Several organizations in Arroyo’s home province have expressed support for Arroyo, who represents Pampanga’s second district, to be granted house arrest in her Lubao hometown.

Initiated by the Pampanga Mayors’ League (PML), the manifesto was also signed by leaders of federations of Sangguniang Kabataan presidents, Associations of Barangay Councils presidents and senior citizens’ groups.

The petitioners said that while they were  “equally interested in the search for truth and justice on all accusations leveled against her,” they also believe that Arroyo is “entitled to her constitutional rights to health and well-being, as well as to the presumption of innocence.” The manifesto will be submitted by Arroyo’s lawyers to the Pasay City court.

Arroyo’s bid for house arrest has sparked a heated exchange between her political allies and enemies at the House of Representatives.

House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman said neither the Rules of Court nor any law prohibits house arrest as a reasonable mode of placing an accused in custody.

He said Rule 113 of the Rules of Court defines arrest as “the taking of a person into custody in order that he may be bound to answer to the commission of the offense,” but does not impose that the custody be in a prison facility.

“House arrest has been institutionalized worldwide in deference to former presidents, premiers, kings and heads of state or when confinement in prison is not appropriate due to the age or delicate medical condition of the accused,” Lagman said.

But party-list member Neri Javier Colmenares (Bayan Muna) claimed that house arrest was not in the law.

“Many suffered in prison during her reign. This is a special right, not given to ordinary Filipinos,” he said.

Another party-list member, Kaka Bag-ao (Akbayan) said the request for house arrest should be denied since Arroyo was already fit to be released from hospital confinement. With Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon, and Christine Avendaño

Originally posted: 6:59 pm | Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

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TAGS: Arroyo doctors, Arroyo health, Dr. Juliet Gopez-Cervantes, Gloria Arroyo’s chief physician Dr. Juliet Gopez-Cervantes, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Judge Jesus Mupas, Judiciary, Pasay RTC, Supreme Court
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