Mike Arroyo drops by St. Luke's hospital


Posted at Oct 30 2008 08:51 AM | Updated as of Oct 30 2008 07:19 PM

First Gentleman Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo arrived unannounced at the St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City Thursday morning.

It was unclear as of posting time why President Arroyo's husband visited St. Luke's, the same hospital where his friend, former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn "Jocjoc" Bolante, has been confined since Tuesday night.

After alighting from his vehicle, Mr. Arroyo immediately went inside the hospital and refused to entertain questions from the media who camped out overnight outside the St. Luke's building.

Meanwhile, a radio dzMM report has said that members of the Police Security and Protection Office have replaced guards assigned by the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms office outside Bolante's hospital room.

Bolante arrived Tuesday night after being deported from the United States.

Families and patients awaiting admission at St. Luke's, meanwhile, have criticized the favorable treatment on Bolante after he immediately got a room at the hospital shortly before midnight Tuesday.

A mother of one of the patients complained that she has already fallen asleep while waiting for the admission of her child who has a stomach ailment. She said that Bolante, on the other hand, immediately got a room even without going to the emergency room first.

“It’s unfair. Just because he’s a VIP doesn’t mean it will be like this,”  the woman who identified herself only as "Rose" said.

An ABS-CBN report said the long delay caused some patients to move to another hospital while others chose to stay and wait for another vacancy.

Bolante, the alleged architect of the P728 million fertilizer fund scandal, arrived in the country late Tuesday and was whisked to the hospital after complaining of chest pains.

Activists said Bolante’s confinement seemed premeditated, saying that a room reservation was already made even before his arrival to the country. “Why is it that men who are wanted are always brought to the hospital?” asked Sanlakas spokesman Rasti Delizo.

The Senate Sergeant-at-Arms and St. Luke’s management, however, said they merely responded to Bolante’s request for a medical check-up due to “mental and physical stress and ailments” brought about by his detention in the United States. 

“He [Bolante] suddenly complained of chest pains,” said Col. Jaime Dimacali, head of the arresting team.