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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     9 November  2011

Arroyo’s medical trip denied

Philippine Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Tuesday rejected a plea of former President and now Rep. Gloria Arroyo of Pampanga province to allow her to seek medical treatment for her bone ailment abroad.

“My order is a denial of the request,” de Lima said during a press briefing on the issue of an Allow Departure Order [ADO] that Mrs. Arroyo had sought from the Department of Justice [DOJ].

The DOJ chief argued that she was “not convinced with any exceptional reason or circumstance for us to grant [the] request.”

The former leader is facing plunder and electoral-sabotage charges and she needed to secure the ADO from the DOJ before she could leave the country because she is covered by a watch list order [WLO] issued by the Justice department.

De Lima said that she met with President Benigno Aquino 3rd in Malaca?ang earlier on Tuesday to inform him about her decision.

The Palace on Monday said that President Aquino alone would decide whether to allow Mrs. Arroyo to leave for medical treatment overseas.

Yesterday, Malaca?ang backed the justice Secretary’s decision.”We fully support the decision of Secretary de Lima,” deputy Palace spokesman Abigael Valte said.

De Lima’s rejection of Mrs. Arroyo’s ADO request came on the same day that the Arroyos sought dissolution of the WLO in connection with their alleged role in election cheating in 2007.

The former president and her husband, lawyer Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, asked the Supreme Court (SC) to temporarily bar the DOJ from implementing its order.

They urged the High Tribunal to decide on DOJ Circular 41, on which the WLO was based, and present all sides before oral arguments before SC justices.

In a 41-page petition filed by the Arroyos’ lawyer—former Solicitor-General Estelito Mendoza—the former president noted that she had to comply with requirements set by de Lima for her travel abroad, even if there was no need for such compliance.

Mrs. Arroyo said that “the inability of petitioner GMA (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) to leave for abroad to alleviate, or, at least, prevent the aggravation of her hypoparathyroidism and metabolic bone disorder has given rise to the danger that the said conditions afflicting petitioner GMA may become permanent and incurable.”

She attached her medical abstracts, among others, to her petition.

“Having been immobilized by a debilitating condition for the last few months, and having been subject to long operations and their complications, she seeks other experts’ perspective and to receive optimum care to ensure that she will not be disabled for the rest of her life and that her recovery will no longer be impeded by complications, which she has unfortunately experienced for the last few months,” the former leader said.

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