MANILA, Philippines – The doctors of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo have advised the ailing congresswoman to seek medical treatment in the United States or Singapore, her spokesperson Atty. Raul Lambino said.
According to Lambino, however, Arroyo chooses to remain in the Philippines to quash speculations that she is avoiding the plunder charges filed against her.
“Sensitive siya sa public opinion e. Sinasabi niya, ‘Kapag ako umalis sa bansa, sasabihin nila tinatakbuhan ko itong accusations against me.’ To the extent of maybe putting her life in danger,” said Lambino.
Lambino said Arroyo’s condition is serious.
“Sabi ng mga doctors kapag hindi iyan naayos at lumala ang infection, maaaring umabot ‘yan sa utak niya at magkaroon siya ng meningitis at complete paralysis o umabot ‘yan sa puso at magkakaroon siya ng stroke,” he said.
Arroyo was scheduled for surgery last August 10 to address the dislodged titanium implants in her spine.
The operation, however, was held off after doctors discovered an infection.
Critics of Arroyo said they are hoping that her medical condition would not be used as leverage to gain sympathy from the public.
“It's unfortunate, it’s in poor taste and it’s irrational,” said ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio.
Tinio said he hopes for Arroyo’s recovery to give her an opportunity to face the charges against her.
Her critics also said they are open to having her removed from the immigration watch list if she needs treatment abroad.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima earlier said she could lift the order for humanitarian reasons.
However, she stressed that in the event that the order is lifted, it will only be temporary.
"Pag binawi ko yan, nothing can prevent me from re-issuing the WLO (watch list order)," she said.
Mass, prayers for Arroyo
Prayers and a mass were offered to Arroyo at the chapel inside St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig on Saturday.
Attending the mass were family members and supporters of Arroyo, including her husband, former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, and children Luli and Dato.
Ang Galing Pinoy party-list Rep. Mikey Arroyo is currently in the United States to meet with possible donors of medical equipment for his party-list group
Former cabinet members of the Arroyo administration, including Buhay Partylist Rep. Carissa Coscolluela, Atty. Romeo Macalintal, former Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr., and Candaba Mayor Gerry Pelayo, also attended the mass. -- With reports from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News; ANC