VIRAL: Arroyo has dinner with Duterte lawyer


A man looks at photos of Salvador Panelo during the birthday celebration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. These photographs were circulated online on Tuesday. ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Netizens have circulated a picture purportedly sourced from an online social media account of lawyer Salvador Panelo showing him having dinner with former President Gloria Arroyo.

The photo, purportedly sourced from Panelo's social media account, shows Arroyo without her neck brace and looking all dolled up.

Former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo confirmed the former President removed her neck brace during the dinner, which occurred last April 5. 

"Yes, she took out her neck brace so she could eat better. What's wrong with that? It is very clear she was having dinner. That was on April 5, her birthday," he said. 

The Supreme Court earlier granted Arroyo's petition for a 3-day birthday furlough last April 4-6.

Asked about the former President's healthy look in the photos, he said: "People look their best in their birthdays. And by the way, she is still pretty up to now."

Panelo has refused to allow the use of the picture even if it has circulated on social media. Panelo is the legal counsel of Davao City Mayor and presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte, whom Arroyo once appointed as her anti-crime adviser.

Arroyo is detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) as she faces trial for plunder while dealing with complications from her cervical spine surgery and multilevel cervical spondylosis.