Arroyo’s ‘detention’ to be extended
MANILA THE Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police have decided to extend former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s hospital detention, according to the director of Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC), where she is being held.
“She does not have to be confined, but taking into consideration other factors like security in her daily trip to the hospital, a decision made by the DILG and PNP [said] she could stay at the hospital [for the duration of her therapy],” Dr Nona Legaspi on Friday told in a phone interview.
“On our part, we also do not want her to miss her daily therapy,” Legaspi said.
Even Dr Antonio Sison, a government orthopedic surgeon overseeing Arroyo’s condition expressed preference for her continued stay at VMMC on grounds that she required continuous monitoring and close supervision.
But Sison also said Arroyo could be treated as “an outpatient”— a position held by Commission on Elections (Comelec) prosecutors who had asked that her fitness be verified by the Pasay City court in the hope that it could order her transfer from the government hospital to a regular detention cell in the process.
The court has also yet to rule on Arroyo’s request for permission to attend the wake and funeral of her husband’s brother, Negros Occidental Rep Ignacio Arroyo, who died late last month in London.
Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative, is under hospital arrest for the non-bailable charge of electoral sabotage.
She is accused of ordering the rigging of the 2007 senatorial elections in Maguindanao, along with former Gov Andal Ampatuan Sr and former election supervisor Lintang Bedol.
Arraignment is scheduled on February 20.
“It is better for [Arroyo] to be … at the hospital,” Sison said on Friday at the court hearing her electoral sabotage case when asked if he thought she should be moved to a regular detention facility.
He added that Arroyo was taking a lot of medicines and undergoing daily intensive physical therapy.
But when asked if the rehabilitation was possible with Arroyo as an outpatient, Sison, a visiting consultant at VMMC, said: “I think so.” He declined interview requests from reporters after the hearing.
Legaspi said that VMMC in Quezon City hospital had the capacity and capability to continue to treat Arroyo, and that her therapy could last from six months to one year.
Under questioning by election prosecutor Charlie Yap, Sison gave an assessment of Arroyo, which was contained in a one-page report he submitted to the court on Wednesday.