Arroyo ally: Doctor advised her to go abroad

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Arroyo ally Rep Danilo Suarez says doctors advise the former President to seek treatment abroad

Illustration by Jessica Lazaro

MANILA, Philippines – Will former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo attempt to leave the country again?

House Minority Leader and Quezon Rep Danilo Suarez said Arroyo’s doctor advised her to seek a second opinion abroad.

The Arroyo ally said her cardiologist, Dr Robert Anastacio of the Makati Medical Center (MMC), told her to consider getting a neuro-cervical surgery, a procedure not available in the Philippines.

Suarez said on Tuesday, August 14, that Arroyo’s camp should consider appealing the hold departure orders (HDOs) against her so she can heed her doctor’s advice.

Suarez also said that Anastacio found a lump in Arroyo’s left breast.

The Pampanga representative has been confined at the MMC since Monday, August 13, after the titanium plate supporting her cervical spine was dislocated.

In a medical bulletin the MMC released on Monday, Anastacio said there was a “further deterioration of [Arroyo’s] anterior cervical cage.”

“The presence of a displaced titanium plate along C2-C3 is a serious factor in the mechanism of breathing and subsequently blood circulation, which may lead to sudden death,” Anastacio said in the medical bulletin.

The bulletin echoed an earlier medical update released in June. Back then, Anastacio said Arroyo has had “difficulty in swallowing food, including Communion host and medicine.”

Anastacio has said that pressure from the titanium plate is affecting Arroyo’s breathing, food pathway and heart.

3 HDOs

There are 3 HDOs barring Arroyo from leaving the Philippines. The orders were issued in relation to 3 separate cases that the former President is facing: electoral sabotage, plunder and graft.

Arroyo is accused of involvement in cheating during the 2007 elections to ensure the victory of her administration’s senatorial bets. Her graft case is related to the botched national broadband network deal with China’s ZTE Corp.

The plunder charge stems from the supposed misuse of P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds.

Arroyo was recently released from an 8-month detention at the Veterans Medical Memorial Center after a Pasay court granted her bail in the electoral sabotage charge.

In November 2011, the former President attempted to seek medical treatment abroad but the government stopped her, causing a standoff at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. 

President Benigno Aquino III and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima suspected that instead of seeking medical treatment abroad, Arroyo would try to evade charges against her. –

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