MANILA (Mabuhay) – The camp of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo on Friday blamed the Aquino administration for allegedly “directly contributing” to the health condition of his wife, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
At the same time, Ferdinand Topacio thanked the Sandiganbayan for allowing family and relatives of Mrs. Arroyo to spend Christmas and New Year with her at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.
Mrs. Arroyo, now Pampanga congresswoman, is under hospital arrest facing plunder charges in connection with the alleged misuse of P366M intelligence fund of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office during when she was still president.
“The compassion exhibited by the Sandiganbayan Justices is in direct contrast to the cold indifference of Malacañang on the issue, and the Palace’s active persecution of the Arroyos by severely restricting the activities of the former President, not only limited to visitation, but also the sunning and exercise which directly contribute to the health of Mrs. Arroyo,” said Topacio, the former First Gentleman’s lawyer.
“Verily, the occupants of Malacañang have proven themselves once again insensitive to the needs of an ailing woman, and the President and his henchmen seem to lack the Christian charity which was exhibited boldly by the people in the Judiciary,” he added.
As of posting time, GMA News Online was still trying to get a reaction from Malacañang.
Prior to the Sandiganbayan order, the Arroyo camp had criticized a Philippine National Police directive preventing Mr. Arroyo from staying overnight with his wife.
The PNP has likewise implemented stricter measures for Mrs. Arroyo’s visitors.
“The support of Mrs. Arroyo’s family is crucial in this stage of her illness, and the time spent by her family will go a long way in alleviating the miseries brought about, not only by her illness but by her baseless incarceration,” Topacio said.
Topacio earlier said the new PNP measures were still part of the Aquino administration’s “persecution” of the Arroyo family and his political opponents, pointing to earlier reports that relief operations in super typhoon Yolanda-hit areas in central Philippines were supposedly hampered by political partisanship.
The PNP had already denied that the overnight ban is a new policy, saying it is “just a reiteration of the existing custodial policies.”
President Benigno Aquino III has repeatedly taken swipes against the Arroyo administration during his public speeches, even highlighting the alleged corruption during her administration.
Aquino even made a controversial joke about how supposedly corrupt individuals in the Philippines had tried evading arrest by using wheelchairs, an apparent reference either to Mrs. Arroyo or ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Mrs. Arroyo is currently suffering from spine problems and in the past had been seen in public in a wheelchair. (MNS)