Arroyo drives off to freedom in a convoy of vehicles
MANILA — After almost four years in detention, former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo drove off to freedom from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City on Thursday night.
It was a three-day long wait after the Supreme Court acquitted Arroyo of plunder charges in the relation to the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds when she was still in office.
Around 6:20 p.m., a convoy of private vehicles with police escorts went out of both Gates 1 (along North Avenue) and 2 (along Mindanao Avenue). The members of the media, who waited for Arroyo’s release since Tuesday afternoon, were gathered at Gate 1 but failed to get a glimpse of the former President.
Some security personnel claimed that she went out using the Mindanao Avenue gate while members of her legal team said that her vehicle went out a few minutes before the convoy which appeared to have been used as a decoy for the media.
However, her lawyer, Laurence Arroyo (not related to Arroyo) stayed behind and explained that she already left the VMMC with her children Mikey, Luli and Dato. Her husband, Mike, is said to be overseas with their grandchildren.
Asked if Arroyo would attend President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address on Monday, the lawyer said she would “most likely” be there since “she is already a free woman.”
“Today is a happy day. Let us not talk about another plunder case but be grateful to the Supreme Court that justice has been done to former President Arroyo,” the legal counsel added.
Attorney Arroyo said the former President’s medical condition has remained the same, which meant that she has still been feeling the discomfort of her spine disease, which she first reported to authorities upon her detention four years ago.
“Hopefully, now she can seek medical treatment because she is free to choose the doctor and medical facility she wants,” the lawyer said.
He also mentioned that Arroyo was happy to be finally released from hospital arrest and that she might spend the night at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City for a checkup. Arroyo went straight to her home in La Vista Subdivision from VMMC and would likely go to St. Luke’s after resting. SFM
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