Aching Arroyo Back At VMMC

MANILA, Philippines - Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was re-admitted to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center before midnight Thursday not for detention but as an emergency case patient.

The incumbent Pampanga lawmaker was taken on an emergency admission at 11:58 pm Thursday due to an "acute cervical and lumbar strain" triggered by a piece of melon that blocked her throat.

Although her vital signs were tested to be normal at the time of admission, Dr. Martha O. Nucum, ambulance surgeon, and Dr. Antonio Sison recommended admission of the patient.

The former president, who complained of severe neck pain, was advised by doctors to have complete bed rest.

Before being readmitted, Mrs. Arroyo had returned to the VMMC twice after being released from hospital detention on a P1-million bond. The former president was detained at the hospital after she was charged with electoral sabotage.

Barely two days after being set free, Arroyo returned to the VMMC after complaining of severe leg pains.

She undergoes physical therapy sessions at the hospital built for Filipino war veterans by the US government. Her father, former President Diosdado Macapagal, was a World War II hero.

Arroyo spokesperson Elena Bautista Horn said doctors suspect that Arroyo's hectic schedule, that included her returning to work in the House of Representatives, may have aggravated her condition.

Arroyo, who wears a neck brace, reported to the House plenary hall after nearly 13 months of absence due to medical conditions and her hospital detention.

The former chief executive has been attending to a hectic schedule since she was released from hospital detention.

A day after her release, Arroyo was brought to a Tagaytay City alternative medicine center. On July 27, she motored to her hometown in Lubao, Pampanga to personally attend to her constituents.

After taking a rest on Sunday, Arroyo reportedly accepted visitors. She returned to work Wednesday.

Still feeling the effects of several surgeries for lumbar problems, Arroyo has decided to give up one of her legislative assignments as member of the House Committee on Appropriations.

She offered her seat in the committee on appropriations to Batangas Rep. Hermilando Mandanas, a former Liberal Party stalwart whose close relationship with President Benigno Aquino III was strained for supporting former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, a Batangas native.

However, Arroyo vowed to rest completely to condition her body for the plenary voting on the controversial reproductive health bill next week.

The former president is among the lawmakers who have supported the Catholic Church stand against the legislative measure.

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