Arroyo vs RH bill, attends ‘dry run’ for vote

Even as president, former President Gloria Arroyo has always opposed the RH bill

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 Macapagal-Arroyo surprised fellow solons on Tuesday, July 31, when she showed up at the start of the plenary session.

Mrs Arroyo received a warm welcome from fellow minority solons and even from former allies who have joined the House majority coalition, which is now controlled by President Benigno Aquino III’s Liberal Party (LP). She left about 20 minutes later.

Speaking to reporters before she left the House of Representatives, Arroyo said her visit Tuesday was a “dry run” for next week. She said she plans to attend the August 7 session, when the House is scheduled to vote on 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 [for] a dry run for Tuesday,” she said. “I’m voting against it.”

A devout Catholic, Mrs Arroyo has always opposed the RH bill even when she was still president. President Aquino is supporting it.

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

Mrs Arroyo was released last July 25 after posting a P1-M bail in connection with an electoral sabotage case filed against her before a Pasay court. A plunder case previously filed against her before the Sandiganbayan has been returned to the Ombudsman for further probe.

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 (Photo by Carmela Fonbuena)

Arroyo told reporters she has lost about 30 pounds from the time she was put under hospital arrest in November 2011. The ex-president has undergone 3 spinal surgeries.

“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 intensive physical therapy,” she said. “We’ll see how we go along. Today I had my physical therapy.” –

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