Church leaders visit Gloria Arroyo
Church leaders hold a mass for the former President's 'continuing recovery,' as well as for 'truth and justice'

HOSPITAL ARREST. Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is facing plunder charges, but has to be confined due to a spine problem. Photo from AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Several bishops of the Catholic Church on Sunday, January 26, visited ailing former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is currently under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City.

The Church leaders who visited Arroyo include Archbishops Rolando Tirona (Nueva Caceres), Neri Odchimar (Tandag), Diosdado Talamayan (Tuguegarao), and Bishops Emilio Marquez (Quezon) and Ramon Villena (Nueva Vizcaya), radio dzBB reported.

A mass, offered for her “continuing recovery” and improvement of her health, was also held during their visit, according to Raul Lambino, lawyer and Arroyo spokesperson. It was also offered for “truth and justice” in connection with her pending cases, and for the victims of the recent calamities.

Arroyo has been under hospital arrest at the VMMC’s Presidential Suite since December 2011, in connection with plunder and electoral sabotage cases filed separately against her with the Sandiganbayan and a Pasay court.

In the past few weeks, Arroyo has been receiving some high-profile guests. She continues to suffer from spine problems, and people who have visited her said she has lost a lot of weight.

Her previous visitors in the past few weeks include former Presidents Joseph Estrada and Fidel Ramos; former Vice President Noli de Castro; Ilocos Norte Rep Imelda Marcos; Jesus is Lord leader Eddie Villanueva; and former Armed Forces intelligence chief Victor Corpus.

She was also visited by other Catholic leaders, namely Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles as well as Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, one of her harshest critics.

In January 2001, Arroyo, then vice president, replaced then President Estrada after a peaceful revolt forced him to quit the presidency. She ran for election in 2004 and won amid allegations she cheated. Arroyo stepped down in June 2010. –

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