Arroyo still unfit for regular detention cell-A A +A
Friday, February 3, 2012
FORMER President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo may still be unfit to be transferred from the presidential suite of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City to a regular detention facility, one of her doctors said Friday.
Arroyo is reportedly suffering from cervical and lumbar osteoarthritis and will need physical therapy, said VMMC physician Antonio Sison in a hearing at the sala of Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 112 Judge Jesus Mupas.
"While her condition had improved, she still has osteoarthritis and must undergo physical therapy three times a week for four weeks as well as medication," Sison, a distant relative of Arroyo, said.
He said that with her improved condition, the 64-year-old Arroyo has no need to wear braces while at the VMMC's presidential suite but added she will have to wear one if she goes out of the hospital for a longer period of time.
The findings were contained in a three-page clinical abstract, a one-page orthopedic abstract, and another three-page of medical abstract submitted by the VMMC doctors to the court.
Mupas is currently hearing a petition filed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seeking her transfer to a regular detention jail if her physical condition allows it.
Meantime, Arroyo found an unlikely ally in her political rival former President Joseph Estrada, who called for her continued detention at VMMC as courtesy to a woman.
"It's not out of respect for a former president because no one is above the law but maybe we can afford some leniency because she is a woman," Estrada said.
Sought for comment, Arroyo’s legal representative Ferdinand Topacio thanked Estrada for his "kind words."
"President Estrada is truly a gentleman of the old school, imbued with the qualities of decency, courtesy, and chivalry," he told Sun.Star, adding that his client's jailer, President Benigno Aquino III, could take some lessons on courtesy from Estrada.
Estrada was imprisoned for charges of plunder after being ousted from the presidency in 2001 for six and a half years.
He was first held at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame, then at a police training camp in Sta. Rosa, Laguna before being moved to the VMMC after three years of regular imprisonment and only placed in house arrest during the last two years of his incarceration.
Earlier, Vice President Jejomar Binay as well as Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile both said they are not in favor of the transfer of Arroyo to a regular jail to be detained with other ordinary criminals.
Last month, VMMC Director Nona Legaspi said Arroyo’s condition is stable and there is no need to subject her to another operation.
Arroyo had been detained at the VMMC since December 9 last year, where she was moved from the St. Luke's Medical Center (SLMC) in Taguig City after she, and her husband, Jose Miguel were prevented from leaving the country by immigration authorities to seek medical treatment abroad for her bone disorder.
She is set to be arraigned on February 20 along with her co-accused, former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and former Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Bedol.
The order for their arraignment came after Mupas junked Arroyo’s motion questioning the issuance of a warrant for her arrest late last year.
No decision yet if Arroyo will be allowed to view Iggy’s wake
In a related development, Mupas asked for more details before deciding on a motion filed by Arroyo’s lawyers to allow her to attend the wake of her brother-in-law, the late Negros Occidental Representative Ignacio "Iggy" Arroyo.
The 60-year-old lawmaker died last week in London due to liver cancer.
His remains have yet to be repatriated to the Philippines although the country’s embassy in London said it may take place this weekend.
The court has also seek the opinion of Chief Superintendent Lina Sarmiento, the head of the Police Security Protection Office (PSPO), on the implications and measures needed to secure the former president if she is allowed to attend her brother-in-law’s wake.
For its part, the Comelec poses no objection to Arroyo’s request but said the dates of the wakes and burial must be specified. (AH/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)