Arroyo returns to Congress to oppose RH bill

by Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 31 2012 09:19 PM | Updated as of Aug 01 2012 06:55 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo attended the House of Representatives plenary session on Tuesday after almost a year's absence.

Walking into the session hall around 4 p.m., the Pampanga lawmaker was escorted by his eldest son, partlylist Rep. Mikey Arroyo.

Dressed in white and wearing a neck brace, she went around briefly shaking hands and was welcomed by her colleagues and former Lakas party mates before she took her seat among the minority bloc. 

She left the session hall after around than 15 minutes. 

In a cellphone interview, the former President said her attendance is just a "dry run" for the next session when the House of Representatives will vote whether to terminate or continue the debates on the reproductive health (RH) bill. 

Arroyo said she is against the RH bill. 

House minority leader Rep. Danny Suarez earlier said that have withdrawn their support for the RH bill. 

He also said he is happy that Arroyo was able to attend the session Tuesday. 

He said the former President is an asset to the House of Representatives, especially during budget hearings. 

However, other colleagues of the former President were not as happy to see her. 

Several congressmen just ignored her. 

Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said he is disappointed to see Arroyo at the lower House again because he believes that the former President should be in jail for electoral sabotage and other cases.

Arroyo had missed lower House sessions since July 2011, when she underwent the first of 3 surgeries to fix her damaged cervical spine.

In November last year, the Pasay City regional trial court ordered her arrest for an electoral sabotage case filed by the Commission on Elections.

She was later detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center.

Arroyo gained temporary freedom last week after she posted a P1-million bail allowed by the court.