PASAY CITY — Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. has added his voice to those asking the Aquino administration to allow former President and now Pampanga congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to seek medical treatment abroad.
Other Senators who approve of Arroyo’s medical treatment abroad are Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Sen Panfilo Lacson, Sen. Francis Escudero III and other Congress leaders.
The actor-senator said he directed his appeal to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to allow Mrs. Arroyo to leave the country for medical treatment.
“It would do more harm than good if her condition worsens here in the country,” he said, adding the DOJ has yet to file cases against the former President.
Revilla, who is number one senator and is president of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD, said in a statement: “For humanitarian considerations, I am appealing to the Department of Justice to review its decision to disallow the former President to seek medical treatment abroad. It would do more harm than good if her condition worsens here in the country. There are no cases filed against her that will legally impede her from travelling abroad.”
The DOJ has put Congresswoman Arroyo, her husband Jose Miguel, and others on a travel watch list over accusations that she was involved in plunder and election fraud.
Senators, including those critical of Arroyo, have criticized the watch list order as unconstitutional and illegal because it restricts the right to travel. They said only a court-issued hold-departure order can keep a person from leaving the country.
“What she is invoking is a right. She is not seeking a privilege. Huwag nating ipagkait sa kanya ang karaparatang ito,” Revilla said.
Revilla added: “May mga hakbang namang maaaring gawin para mawala ang pangamba ng gobyerno na hindi na siya babalik. Kabilang diyan ang pagtatalaga ng mga escorts. Nandiyan ang masusing pagtutok ng media. Hindi nangangailangan ng paggastos ng malaking halaga ng pondo ng Sambayanan para maisakatuparan ang mga hakbang na ito.”
The DOJ has denied Arroyo’s request to travel abroad for treatment of hypoparathyroidism and a mineral bone disorder, citing inconsistencies in documents submitted and the lack of an immediate need to leave the country.
Revilla said there are ways to make sure Arroyo returns after treatment, including providing her with escorts. “For humanitarian considerations, I am appealing to the Department of Justice to review its decision,” he said.