House Speaker Belmonte urged to protect Gloria Arroyo’s rights
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte should protect the rights of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as a member of the House of Representatives by ensuring that she has access to a laptop and mobile phone in order to continue functioning as a lawmaker even during her incarceration.
Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said that Arroyo should at least have the perks enjoyed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV such as a laptop and mobile phone while he was held in a military jail in the first half of his six-year term because Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile had fought for his rights.
“Senator Trillanes was declared guilty yet he was allowed to work as a senator in a detention center where he could hold committee hearings and had access to communications. I called the attention of the Speaker on this and I told him it’s his duty to protect a member because it can happen to any member,” Suarez told a press conference.
Suarez said he went to visit Arroyo Tuesday night in her hospital room at Veterans Memorial Medical Center where the Pampanga representative has of a television set where she is able to monitor current events, including the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona. He said Arroyo was in high spirits, although she had a difficult time speaking.
Suarez said the minority bloc would support Arroyo’s appeal to remain under hospital arrest and that he expected the House to also support her request to be allowed to attend the funeral of her brother-in-law, the late Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo, whose remains are expected to arrive from London on Friday.
Malacañang announced the release of the P70-million pork barrel of Ignacio shortly after his death.
Suarez said he hoped the Palace was not waiting for four other minority members—Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado Arroyo, Ang Galing Pinoy party-list member Juan Miguel Arroyo, Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco and Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsaysay—to die before releasing their pork.
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