Arroyo doctors will only speak before courts

Ayee Macaraig

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MANILA, Philippines – Doctors of former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will no longer issue media statements or bulletins on the medical condition of their patient.

Marilen Lagniton, vice president for customer affairs at St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City, said the hospital’s lawyers advised the doctors not to discuss Arroyo’s medical condition as the matter is now part of court cases.

“We therefore must refrain from talking or discussing this case which is now before a court for determination,” Lagniton told Move.PH in a text message.

Lagniton, however, said the doctors will comply if the courts summon them to testify.

Solicitor General Jose Anselmo Cadiz asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to summon Arroyo’s physicians to the continuation of the oral arguments on her petition questioning her travel ban. Cadiz also asked the high tribunal to order the doctors to bring her latest medical abstract.

The oral arguments resume today at 2 p.m.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima explained to reporters, “Our position on that is if she would invoke right to life, she should first establish the premise that her condition is life-threatening …. Remember, one of the reasons why I denied her request for ADO (allow departure order) was the findings of Health Secretary Ona that her condition was not life-threatening.”

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda also pointed out in a press briefing on Wednesday that it was Arroyo’s lawyers, not her doctors, who are often speaking about her health. Lacierda said government believes Arroyo’s condition is not life-threatening.

Aside from the Solicitor General, lawyers of the Commission on Elections also asked the Pasay Regional Trial Court to order Arroyo’s doctors to testify on her medical condition, and determine the need to put her under hospital arrest. The RTC is hearing Arroyo’s electoral sabotage case. 

Arroyo is under temporary hospital arrest at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City, where she has been confined since Nov. 15. Arroyo went straight to the hospital from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport where government barred her from traveling abroad. Arroyo’s camp said she wanted to seek medical treatment abroad for her bone mineral disease, cervical spondylosis and hypoparathyroidism.


Dr. Juliet Gopez-Cervantes told reporters Saturday Arroyo’s medical condition is not life-threatening.


Doctor’s last statement

Arroyo’s doctors are Dr. Mario Ver, Dr. Juliet Gopez-Cervantes and Dr. Roberto Mirasol.

In the last media interview granted by Cervantes on Nov. 19, Saturday, she said Arroyo is dehydrated and anorexic but confirmed that her patient’s condition is not life-threatening.

“When you say a matter of life and death, there is multi-organ involvement and there is deterioration of vital signs. Objectively speaking, if we are talking about that, she is not in that condition as of now,” said Cervantes.

Since then, only Arroyo’s spokespersons and allies have been talking about her health. Raul Lambino, one of Arroyo’s lawyers, said the former president took a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test on Monday. Lambino said results showed there is a problem in her lower spine.

After the test, Lambino said Dr. Ver advised Arroyo to stay in bed and avoid movement for at least 48 hours. Ver’s office refused to confirm the statement, saying the doctor will not speak unless given clearance by his patient.

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