MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) - After a 9-hour wait, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was finally transferred from St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig to Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City Friday afternoon.
Mrs. Arroyo left St. Luke's before 3:30 p.m. Footage taken by ABS-CBN showed police wheeling the former president to a waiting coaster at the hospital's main entrance.
The convoy carrying Arroyo passed EDSA and entered VMMC through the Mindanao Avenue gate at around 4:15 p.m.
Pasay regional trial court Sheriff Rodelio Buenviaje said the former president looked fine after she was brought to the presidential suite at VMMC."She's wearing her neck brace," he said.
He also denied that Mrs. Arroyo was handcuffed on her way to the hospital. "Definitely I will not allow her to be handcuffed. I respected her office," he said.
At least 300 policemen were deployed to provide security for Arroyo at VMMC. Arroyo's visitors will have to pass through 4 checkpoints in order to see her.
Mrs. Arroyo was supposed to be airlifted to the VMMC Friday morning but heavy rains prevented the helicopter from leaving. Instead, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo said Arroyo would be brought to the Quezon City hospital by land.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte denied that there was a delay in Arroyo's transfer, saying the police force has all day to effect her transfer.
Mrs. Arroyo is under hospital arrest due to pending electoral sabotage charges filed against her by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Judge Jesus Mupas of Pasay Regional Trial Court branch 112 earlier ordered Arroyo's transfer from St. Luke's to VMMC, saying the government must have custody of the former president.
The government has prepared the presidential suite at the VMMC for Mrs. Arroyo. It is the same room used by former President Joseph Estrada after he was arrested on plunder charges in 2001.
Robredo, meanwhile, said he has turned down several of Mrs. Arroyo's requests including a request to cook inside her suite and permission to visit the VMMC chapel every day.