Therapy, guests, mass: What Arroyo did while under hospital arrest

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 25 2016 02:28 PM

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

MANILA - Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is picking up where she left off after she was detained by the Sandiganbayan for plunder.

Arroyo walked out of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center last Thursday and went straight home to La Vista, where the family home is located.

Surrounded by family and friends, Arroyo said she has started to make up for lost time with her loved ones.

She said she also had to work on their house, which badly needed a matriarch's touch.

''I had a couple of visitors but I had time to start looking at the house because it's really not been attended to all these years. In fact my sister-in-law was saying 'Your house is in horrible shape so you better go home and fix it,''' she said in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News.

''So I started to look to see what has to be repaired, what has to be rearranged and things like that. I attended to that until my guests started to come."

It was a stark departure from how Arroyo spent the last 4 years. Arroyo had been detained in a state hospital because of cervical spondylosis.

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

The former President said she spent a lot of time in therapy while under hospital detention.

“A typical day, in the morning I would either have physical therapy which I need twice a week or I would have Pilates for my stretching which I usually have once a week or I would have acupuncture which I had every other 2 weeks," she said.

"So that was usually morning and then my visitors would come in the afternoon starting at 3 o clock and if I will see off one visitor I would already take the opportunity to do my 1-hour daily walk. So that was what I could do and then during my free hours I would work on my memoir."

Arroyo was not always wanting for company because visitors came as she had no connection to the outside world.

''I had a lot of visitors because that's the only way they could talk to me because cellphones were not allowed and internet was not allowed,'' she said.

The former President said it was her faith that got her through that episode in her life.

''On Sundays, the priest would come to the chapel to say Mass and every day there was a priest who would come also whenever he could, so sometimes I had a Mass,'' she said.

"If they would say 'let's pray for your health to reduce your suffering,' I would thank them but if they would say 'Do you want us to pray for this or that?' I would say actually pray for my freedom because as far as my physical suffering is concerned I am offering it to be part of the suffering on the cross."

Arroyo thanked those who helped make the ordeal more bearable.

''I think what's more important what I'd like to convey with regard to the people who were with me on a daily basis. You know the police guards the doctors, the nurses, the physical therapists, the nursing aides, the utility people, because I can't say enough about how gracious and kind they were to me.''