MANILA, Nov. 4, 2011— Two Catholic bishops critical of former president Gloria Arroyo said she should be given a chance to seek medical treatment abroad.
But Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez and retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz said there should be a guarantee that Arroyo, now Pampanga lawmaker, would return back to the Philippines.
“(Arroyo should be allowed) if the treatment is available only abroad and there’s guarantee of her return,” said Iñiguez who heads the Committee on Public Affairs of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Cruz also said that at the moment, the former president still “retains the right to travel.”
“If she does not come back, then her flight is a sign of guilt,” he said.
The prelates made the statement Friday after the Department of Justice rejected Arroyo’s appeal to seek medical consultations with specialists abroad for her bone disease.
The DOJ subpoenaed Arroyo last month to attend an investigation on allegations of 2004 and 2007 election fraud.
It also served subpoenas to former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo and 40 others in connection with the joint investigation being conducted by the DOH and the Commission on Elections on the case.
“We recognize the right of every patient to seek treatment, but we are duty-bound to uphold the laws in this country,” said DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima.
But Archbishop Cruz said the Justice department should be prudent on its decision against Arroyo.
“…Because if her sickness becomes fatal, then De Lima gets all the blame and Arroyo becomes so kind of a martyr,” he said. [CBCPNews]