Philippine's Arroyo calls off medical trip

Former president Gloria Arroyo says she is weakened by battling a government travel ban and can not travel.

    Arroyo (C) was dramatically turned back from the Airport, despite the supreme court allowing her to travel [AFP]

    Gloria Arroyo, the former Philippine president, has called off a planned trip abroad for medical treatment as she was physically weakened by fighting off a government-imposed travel ban, her lawyer said.

    The former president’s decision was announced on Thursday on national television by lawyer Raul Lambino, two days after the government stopped her from boarding a flight to Singapore.

    Arroyo, 64, complained she could not sleep and her blood pressure was unstable while being treated at a Manila hospital she checked into late on Tuesday after her failed travel attempt, Lambino said on GMA television.

    "She told me, 'I don't think I can manage to travel," said Lambino, who added he had visited her at the hospital late on Wednesday.

    After her camp initially announced that she would try to fly again on Thursday, Arroyo had instead decided to rest until her condition improved, said Lambino, who did not say when she would make another bid to leave.

    Arroyo was stopped from flying to Singapore on Tuesday night after she was escorted into Manila airport in a wheelchair and wearing a neck brace to support her spine that she says is weakened due to a rare bone disease.

    The Philippine government insisted on Wednesday she must stay in the country to face a graft probe, defying the Supreme Court, which ruled she was free to seek medical care abroad.

    US not requested

    “They are very mean. They are very cruel,'' husband Jose Miguel Arroyo said of the government. “I feel sad. I feel mad. How can they refuse to follow the Supreme Court order? That is tyranny.''

    Her dramatic attempt to leave came hours after the Supreme Court overturned a travel ban that President Benigno

    Aquino's administration put in place last week as it prepared to charge her with vote rigging and corruption.

    Arroyo ruled the country for more than nine years, and was elected to the lower house of the Philippine parliament as her term ended last year.

    US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was on a visit to Manila, said Arroyo has not requested to go to the United States.

    Answering a question at a town hall meeting with Filipinos during her visit to Manila, Clinton said on Wednesday that if Arroyo made a request to go to the US “we would look at that''.

    Clinton said any assistance to Arroyo would depend on the request she made.

    Arroyo has had a close relationship with the Clintons, being a classmate of former President Bill Clinton at Georgetown University.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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