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Sympathy for the Arroyos?

/ 09:14 AM August 25, 2011

The health of former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains a hot topic in the news and social networking sites.

According to the latest medical bulletin on GMA issued by the St. Luke’s Medical Center, the scheduled third operation to repair a dislodged titanium implant in her neck had to be postponed because she developed fever over the weekend. Arroyo’s medical team was supposed to perform the surgery last Tuesday. 

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There had been a series of tests to determine the possibility of infection as cause of fever, but everything turned out to be negative. All told, she is well according to the doctors.

GMA underwent a delicate, emergency cervical spine operation last July 29. The operation was billed successful but less than two weeks later she was rushed to the hospital because of infection. The titanium was dislodged because her bones in the neck area have become brittle and could not hold the metal implant. Doctors cited her age, but at some other time they also raised the issue that her calcium level is poor.

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My favorite wag was taken aback by the background information because women are generally prone to have bone problems as they age. They are advised to exercise, drink milk regularly and take calcium-rich foods, or supplements to offset the mineral lack in daily food. As President for nine years, GMA would have access to nutritious food and the best medical care in the world.

I have heard it once before that Malacañang has a nutritionist who advises the head of state about matters on food and how it affects one’s health. I guess the nutritionist would have some “oversight” powers over the Palace kusineros, in terms of food selections, that is, if the very important Palace occupant herself or himself would indulge on cravings for less-than-healthy food because when one hits 50, he can’t make dinuguan (pork blood), bulalo (beef bone marrow), lechon (roasted pig), Angus beef, etc., regular fare.

I didn’t have any doubts about GMA’s medical condition when the news of her hospitalization came out. I also accepted at face value the medical bulletins churned out by the St. Luke’s Medical Center. At the end of the day, the hospital will be judged not only by the competence of its doctors and staff, or state-of-the art equipment, but also on its commitment to give honest service to the public.

I had plenty of conversation about GMA’s health condition with people from different walks and many of them don’t think GMA is using the hospital walls to avoid investigation, until her lawyer took the role of a physician.

This was last week, when Raul Lambino announced that her client’s condition has turned for the worse and she would need to get medical attention abroad. GMA’s medical team immediately denied they gave the patient such an advice. With ABS-CBN producing the transcript of the interview, Lambino was forced to eat his words.

First of all, lawyer Lambino’s statements are downright insulting not only to the medical staff but also to the public that is well aware of the great strides made by the St. Luke’s Medical Center. What a jerk, I heard some people say about the guy.

The reason GMA will not seek medical attention abroad is because she is already in one of the best hospitals in Asia, if not in the world. According to online resources, the St. Luke’s Medical Center is the first in the Philippines and second in Asia to be accredited by the USA-based Joint Commission International, a leading international health care accreditation scheme in the global medical society.

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To prove that it is comparable with the world’s best, the groundbreaking for St. Luke’s Medical Center-Bonifacio Global City in 2005 featured the signing of Affiliation Agreement with Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a well-known cancer treatment facility in the US.

Another reason GMA is opting for Pinoy medical attention is because here she is assured of tender loving care, not just by her family but also by her medical team. In U.S. hospitals or even in Paris, a city where she has been in and out numerous times, medical care can be impersonal. We are told that more than medicines, it is TLC that enables the patient to cope with health problems, making the healing process to progress.

Lambino’s pronouncements are important because it reflects the thinking of the Arroyos.  GMA is facing a string of plunder cases and the wheels of justice are starting to turn. Is Lambino hoping that GMA’s health problems would neutralize public sentiment and allow her to leave the country?

Meanwhile, Ex-FG Mike Arroyo is hounded by allegations of graft in the sale of secondhand helicopters to the PNP. He has denied the allegations and called his accuser, Lionair executive Archibald Po, a liar. Despite the ex-FG’s tough-guy stance, he can’t summon the will to confront his accuser before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, which is inquiring into the sale of segunda mano choppers, passed off as new, to the PNP.

Congressman Ignacio Arroyo, who belatedly came out to explain that the helicopters were leased and not bought from Lionair, took the rap for his elder brother, but, like Mike, will not tangle with the senators because of poor health kuno. In their stead, the brothers sent their former bookkeeper who was eventually detained for giving the Upper Chamber the run-around. The Arroyo brothers will try to rescue her by going to the Supreme Court.

Compassion is a sign of Christian maturity and a virtue always to be cultivated.  We sympathize with those who are sick, downtrodden and struck with misfortune. But when the Arroyo camp pleads for compassion and due process on the one hand, but on the other hand mercilessly tramples it for expedience, they deliver a clear message.

The Arroyos don’t deserve any sympathy.

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TAGS: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, governance, Government, Graft & Corruption, Health, Iggy Arroyo, Media, Mike Arroyo, News, Politics
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