MANILA, Philippines - Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo underwent delicate spine surgery yesterday and is now under observation.
The “risky” operation took place yesterday morning at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City. Dr. Juliet Gopez-Cervantes earlier said the surgery was needed or else paralysis could set in.
The medical procedure, expected to last four to five hours, would relieve the pressure on the nerves pinched by Arroyo’s backbone, Gopez-Cervantes said.
Gopez-Cervantes further said the surgery will also realign the spinal bones pressing on Arroyo’s nerves.
The hospital, however, has yet to release a medical bulletin as of 4:30 p.m.
The former president’s family members also remained mum on her condition.
Her husband, former first gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, and son Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo were seen at the hospital coffee shop on the ground floor around 1 p.m.
In a text message around 2 p.m. yesterday, Arroyo’s spokesperson Maite Defensor said the surgery was already over.
Arroyo, she said, is being observed at the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Former environment secretary Lito Atienza was among the well-wishers who visited Arroyo. Atienza said he wanted to see the condition of his former boss, but he declined to speak to the media after the visit.
Arroyo was visiting her constituents in Pampanga when she was rushed to the hospital on Monday.
She did not attend President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address where a litany of her supposed wrongdoings was presented.
Gopez-Cervantes told reporters the next day that her patient was suffering from a “damaged cervical spine with multilevel cervical spondylosis.”
She said it was the same reason why Arroyo was rushed to the hospital last June.
Meantime, Malacañang distanced itself yesterday from the various plunder and other charges being filed against Mrs. Arroyo, saying the groups behind the cases must see them through in courts on their own.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press briefing at the Palace that the government would file its cases based on evidence culled from the different departments and agencies.
Valte also said the government was not worried about the finest lawyers to be hired by the former president and her family as she denied the administration had paid millions for a public relations firm to destroy the Arroyos.
“Well, every person is entitled to the best defense that they can have or they can afford,” Valte said.
Valte added government funds were too limited to be spent on PR against a family.
“We would rather spend the money where it is needed. We just have to remind the people that the government is not the one filing the plunder cases she (Arroyo) is facing. They are private citizens while the others are also in public service but belong to a separate and independent branch of government,” Valte said.
“So we cannot say that the Aquino government is releasing money (for media attacks against Arroyo) because given the limited resources that we have, we want to focus spending on people and not on those things,” Valte said.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
GMA recovering from surgery