MANILA, Oct 8 (Mabuhay) – Former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday asked the Sandiganbayan to allow her to leave her detention for two days to undergo various medical checkups for suspected complications from previous operations in her cervical spine.
In a three-page motion submitted to the anti-graft court’s First Division, Mrs. Arroyo, through her legal counsels, asked the court to allow her to be admitted at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City at 9 a.m. on October 21 until 4 p.m. on October 22.
Mrs. Arroyo is facing plunder before the First Division in connection with the alleged misuse of P366 million worth of intelligence fund of the state lottery firm Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) during her term as president.
She is under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City since 2012 following major operations in her spine.
“Needless to say, President Arroyo will return to VMMC as soon as the medical testing and consultation are completed in the afternoon of 22 October 2015,” the former Philippine leader’s camp assured the court.
In her motion, Mrs. Arroyo said her attending physicians at the VMMC recommended that she undergo examinations of the nerve, due to numbness and weakness of her left arm, which, the former President said, may be attributed to her previous cervical spine problem.
Mrs. Arroyo attached in her motion a medical certification dated October 1 signed by VMMC Medical Team head Dr. Martha Nucum and Dr. Antonio Sison.
“In view of her progressing left arm radiculopathy and weak grip, which could be attributed to her three major cervical spine operations, we are also requesting for a repeat Electromyography with Nerve Conduction Velocity Test to localize the involved nerve roots,” a medical certification attached in her motion read.
Nucum and Sison further recommended that Mrs. Arroyo undergo additional examinations due to her medical history of fatty liver, complex liver cyst, pre-malignant colonic polyp with family history of colon cancer, dyslipidemia or an abnormal amount of lipids such as cholesterol in the blood and cervical spondylotic radiculopathy or the weakening or compression of the nerves in the neck.
Among the examinations that Mrs. Arroyo’s physicians recommended were Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan and tumor marker tests such as Alpha Feto Protein for the liver, Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) for the breast and pancreas and CA 125 Calcitonin for the medullary thyroid.
“The VMMC does not have the facilities and equipment necessary to perform these tests/ examinations, as stated in the Medical Certificate dated October 1, 2015,” the former President said in her motion.
Mrs. Arroyo’s camp has repeatedly manifested before the court that the health condition of the 68-year-old lawmaker is “steadily deteriorating.”
In April of this year, she filed a motion asking the First Division to allow her to be placed under house arrest either in her residence in La Vista village in Quezon City or in her ancestral house in Barangay San Nicolas in Lubao, Pampanga.
The court has yet to resolve her house arrest plea.
Earlier in the day, the camp of Mrs. Arroyo disclosed to media an opinion paper issued on October 2 by the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention saying the former Philippine leader’s continued detention is arbitrary and illegal under international laws.
The five-man UN body also asked the Philippine government to reconsider Mrs. Arroyo’s bail plea.
But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has insisted that there is nothing illegal in the continued detention of Mrs. Arroyo.
“While international law forms part of the law of the land under the doctrine of incorporation, iyong nasa batas natin, iyon po ang susundin,” De Lima said. (MNS)