Arroyo attends House session
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo attends the plenary of the House of Representatives

SHE'S BACK: Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo returns to the House of Representatives for the first time in about a year (Photo by Pecto Camero, Media Relations Service-PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines – Former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo surprised fellow solons on Tuesday, July 31, when she showed up at the start of the 4 p.m. plenary session.

It is the first time in about a year that Mrs Arroyo is returning to the House of Representatives. She had a series of neck surgeries last year before her eventual 8-month hospital arrest over the alleged electoral sabotage case. She was released Wednesday last week, July 25, after paying P1-million bail.

Mrs Arroyo was escorted to the gallery by her son party-list Rep Mikey Arroyo.

Mrs Arroyo received a warm welcome from fellow minority solons and even from former allies who have jumped to the House majority coalition, which is led by President Aquino’s Liberal Party (LP).

“Masasaya yung mga dating kasama. They are really excited,” said Minority Leader Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez.

She left about 30 minutes later.

Dry run for RH bill vote

Speaking to reporters before she left the House of Representatives, Arroyo said her visit Tuesday is a “dry run” for next week. She said she plans to attend the August 7 session, when the House is scheduled to vote whether or not to terminate deliberations on the controversial Reproductive Health bill (RH bill).

“RH bill? That’s why I’m strengthening myself today. So that i’ll be sure to be here. I came today like a dry run for Tuesday,” she said.

“I’m voting against it,” she added.

Even as president, President Arroyo has always opposed the RH bill. Only yesterday, Suarez announced that several co-authors of the RH bill among minority solons are going to withdraw support for the RH bill.

Is she going to attend the budget deliberations, too? “I’ll see everyday how i’ll go,” she said.

Suarez doubts Mrs Arroyo can attend budget deliberations. “Looking at her fragile condition, I really have my doubts if she can participate in the budget deliberations,” he said.

“She was gasping. She can’t even go to her office. Hindi siya makaakyat. Mataas yung office nya,” Suarez added.

Not ready for surgery

WARM WELCOME: Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo assisted by son Ang Galing Pinoy Rep. Mikey Arroyo and ally Occidental Mindoro Rep. Amelita Villarosa

Arroyo told reporters she lost about 30 pounds.

“Crispy is all I eat. Crispy is better than hard. It breaks down into small, small pieces. Then I have to turn my left so that the food will go to my right. It’s a complicated procedure,” she said.

Arroyo also said she was supposed to have another surgery but she is not ready for another procedure.

“I’m not physically and emotionally ready for surgery. It can be substituted in the meantime. I’m quoting from the medical bulletin. The substitute for now is intenstive physial therapy,” she said.

“We’ll see how we go along. today i had my physical therapy,” she added. –