‘Arroyo well, she can be moved to jail or not’
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is well enough to leave the hospital, according to the head of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC).
“She can be moved to a jail or not. She is stable and has no active medical problem,” VMMC director Dr. Nona Legaspi told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a telephone interview.
Keeping her in the hospital is “not our decision. Ms. Arroyo did not come to us as a voluntary patient but because of a court order,” Legaspi said.
She said she would recommend to the court that the former President could obtain any further treatment as an “outpatient.”
She explained that the therapy Arroyo was undergoing for her bone ailment could be done outside the hospital.
“Whatever should have been done for her for her ailment was already done at St. Luke’s. She can be an outpatient now,” she said.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) had earlier filed a motion in the Pasay City court hearing the electoral sabotage case against Arroyo seeking an update on her medical condition.
Up to the court
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the poll agency believed Arroyo was already well and could be transferred to a regular jail facility.
“We asked the court to summon the director of the VMMC or the attending physicians of Ms Arroyo to manifest before the court her present condition and declare why it’s necessary for her to stay at the VMMC.
“If it’s no longer necessary, then we will respectfully pray for the issuance of an order directing the Philippine National Police and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology to transfer and commit her to a regular detention facility designated by the court,” Jimenez said.
Asked what had prompted the Comelec to request a report on Arroyo’s condition, he replied: “Actually, we already knew about it (her recovery) for quite a while. In fact, didn’t she request to stand and walk out of her room and walk to the chapel? Basically, all indications were that she was getting better. In fact, she was already walking around so she’s well and maybe it’s no longer necessary that she be held in a hospital.”
Jimenez said it would be up to the Pasay City Regional Trial Court where to transfer Arroyo.
The Comelec motion was signed by Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, whom Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. had designated to oversee the case, together with law department Director Esmeralda Ladra, division chief Maria Juana Valeza and other election lawyers.
Save on hospital bill
The Comelec said transferring Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative, would “save much needed government funds being expended for maintaining her in a hospital suite.”
Arroyo was diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism, a disorder in the parathyroid indicated by a low production of hormones. Relative to the disease is another bone ailment called cervical spondylosis which severely weakened a portion of her spine.
She spent months in luxurious St. Luke’s Medical Center at Bonifacio Global City where doctors performed three operations to correct the alignment of her spine and repair a dislodged metal plate which was part of the treatment.
Arroyo has been accused of ordering the rigging of the senatorial race in Maguindanao province in 2007.
Her coaccused include former Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr., former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. and former provincial election supervisor Lintang Bedol.
Arroyo purportedly ordered Ampatuan to ensure that all 12 administration senatorial candidates won in his province, which despite its improbability was what occurred.