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Options offered on GMA departure
In The Press Posted on October 30th, 2011.
SEN. Panfilo Lacson yesterday said Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo should be allowed to seek medical treatment abroad but she should also do her part to make sure that proceedings in cases filed against her are not delayed by her absence.
"My unsolicited advice to (Justice) Secretary (Leila) de Lima is to do a King Solomon: Allow ex-President Arroyo to leave for treatment abroad but only after she has submitted her counter-affidavit on the electoral sabotage and plunder case that she is being accused of, so as not to derail the preliminary investigations being conducted by the DOJ prosecutors," he said.
"This way, her absence cannot delay the filing of information in court and the subsequent issuance of warrants of arrest against her by the court in case probable cause is established," he added.
Arroyo had obtained permission from the House of Representatives to travel to Singapore, Spain, Germany, Italy and the United States from October 22 to December 5. She plans to seek treatment for "hypoparathyroidism," a condition caused by lack of calcium production in the body, which has aggravated her neck and spine problems. Arroyo has written De Lima thrice to ask permission for her travel abroad but the government has yet to decide. At the House, Cavite Rep. Joseph Emil Abaya and Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said foreign medical specialists should be asked to come to the Philippines to treat Arroyo because Arroyo remains a flight risk. Abaya, chair of the House committee on appropriations, said President Aquino should just order the foreign affairs department to facilitate visa processing and other documents for the foreign physicians.
"We respect her right to seek medical treatment abroad but the state should not renege on its responsibility to seek justice," he said. Colmenares said bringing the foreign specialists to the country would be a win-win solution. He clarified Arroyo should be the one to "shoulder the expenses of bringing in medical experts to the country."
Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, a deputy minority leader, said Arroyo has already made it clear that she has no intention to escape. "She made a vow to return and that’s enough to allow her request to seek medical treatment abroad," Suarez said.
Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus said she is wondering why Arroyo has to leave the country when her physicians at St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City earlier said she was getting better and has even had "remarkable improvements in her neurologic status." – Wendell Vigilia