Moved by Pope's message, Cruz reconciles with Arroyo

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 05 2014 05:40 PM | Updated as of Jan 06 2014 09:19 AM

Former President Gloria Arroyo welcome her former Vice President Noli de Castro and retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz at the (VMMC) on Saturday. Photo by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz, one of the most vocal critics of former President and now Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, made a surprise visit at the lawmaker's detention room at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) on Saturday.

Cruz, who spent about an hour at the VMMC, said he personally went to see Arroyo to reconcile and to seek the former President’s understanding about his critical stand during her administration.

"Ang talagang nais ko ay hingin ang kanyang pang-unawa na ako ay nagsasalita sa mga ilang bagay na nagawa ng kanyang administrasyon. 'Yun naman po ay ginagawa ko sang-ayon naman sa social talk of accept. Kasi sa simbahan po nagse-self talk po 'yun," he said. "Kaya po ako nagpunta doon to ask for her kind understanding that I was doing something that set my… or along my commitment."

The retired archbishop believes that reconciliation was achieved during his visit, noting Arroyo's unexpected and touching response after he explained his side.

"Ang sabi niya ay naintindihan niya ako, naunawaan niya ako. Sa maikling sa salita ay 'yun po ang naka-antig sa akin. At 'yun naman talaga ang hinahanap ko," Cruz said.

Asked about what triggered a staunch critic like him to visit the former President, Cruz said he was touched by Pope Francis' Christmas message, particularly the part which tackled peace.

Despite making peace with Arroyo, Cruz maintained that what he did during the past administration was proper.

"Ang sinasabi ko po ay I'm not always right, I could be wrong, but I have to say what I think is proper according to social talk," he explained.

Meanwhile, Cruz noted that Arroyo looked well despite losing some weight during his visit at the hospital.

"Tingin ko po ay okay siya. She lost some weight but she was very.... she moved rather than steadily. So okay po siya, overall she was ok she was in brace at meron pa kaming picture taking," Cruz said.

Last December 14, Jesus Is Lord Movement (JIL) head Eddie Villanueva and JIL's Leo Alconga also visited Arroyo.

Both Cruz and Villanueva were critics of Arroyo during her presidency.

Last month, former President Joseph Estrada also made a historic visit to Arroyo at the same place where she visited him when he was detained there years ago during her term.

Another former president, Fidel Ramos, also visited Arroyo in November last year.