JULY 7, 2009 (STAR) By Sandy Araneta - The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is discreetly looking into the source of the leak of information from the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Alabang, Muntinlupa City about President Arroyo’s health.

The Chief Executive was reportedly offended by continuing discussions about her breast implant and Malacañang has issued an appeal for everyone to put the issue to rest since it has nothing to do with her overall health condition.

Sources at the NBI confirmed that there is indeed an investigation being conducted by one of its divisions.

However, lawyer Allan Contado, NBI spokesperson and chief of the NBI’s Anti-Graft Division (AGD), refused to confirm or deny that such an investigation is ongoing.

Contado, along with NBI Director Nestor Mantaring, refused to comment on the matter.

A source at the NBI said they have started “interviewing” doctors and medical staff at the Asian Hospital who may have information about Mrs. Arroyo’s medical history.

A source privy to the investigation said they want to know where the leak started.

No details were given as to the identities of the persons interviewed. But the source said they have interviewed at least three persons from the hospital.

“There is doctor-patient confidentiality. And this was allegedly violated,” said the NBI source. “This was maliciously leaked.”

According to the source, the persons who leaked the information, if found guilty, could lose their respective licenses.

‘Let things alone’

At the Palace, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde emphasized that her doctors gave President Arroyo a clean bill of health and there is no reason to discuss anything else that has no relevance to her health.

“What is important is that we have issued a medical bulletin and we hope that we can put this issue to rest already,” Remonde said in an interview over dzRH.

The Press Secretary was given the difficult task of explaining to the media the status of the President during her confinement at the Asian Hospital last week.

It was reported that the President had some repairs done for her allegedly leaking breast implants.

While Malacañang initially denied the report, the press secretary eventually admitted that work was done on the President in the 1980s, although it was not clear if it was for health or cosmetic reasons.

Remonde said that “an abscess was removed and something was put in its place.”

The Palace has explained that the President would report to the public whatever she feels is necessary about her health.

As for other sensitive issues, the President would like to keep these private.

“The bottom line is the President is in good health,” Remonde said.

He also expressed gratitude to Sen. Loren Legarda for crying foul over the reports of the President’s breast implants.

“We’re also grateful to Sen. Loren Legarda as she is with the opposition but she is able to see these things in the proper perspective. That is what’s important,” Remonde said.

“I’m sure a lot of women will agree with me that while it’s important for the public to know the health of the President, there are sensitive matters, and a little delicadeza (propriety) would not hurt, inherently sensitive and private issues as a woman that are difficult to discuss with the public,” said deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo.

“I’m sure as a woman, President Arroyo was offended,” she added.

Remonde said that the Palace has no intention of pursuing the details behind the leak of the information about the President’s procedure, including other details about her confinement at the Asian Hospital.

However, he noted that the hospital “on its own, without prodding, without request from us,” is conducting its own investigation into the matter.

“But that does not concern us anymore,” Remonde said.

Asked if the President would now be wary of going back to that hospital because of what happened, he said it would all depend on the President, since her gynecologist Dr. Ma. Theresa Tankeko-Lopez is based at the Asian Hospital. – Marvin Sy

GMA approves gun amnesty By Cecille Suerte Felipe Updated July 07, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – President Arroyo signed yesterday an executive order authorizing the Philippine National Police (PNP) to implement gun amnesty for loose firearms in preparation for the 2010 elections.

Chief Superintendent Ireno Bacolod, director of the PNP-Civil Security Group, said the executive order is now on the desk of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita for disposition.

Under the procedure, the Office of the Executive Secretary will assign a number to the executive order, and publish it before it can be implemented.

Bacolod said the PNP would likely implement the gun amnesty around July 21, for a period of four months.

The PNP under Director General Jesus Verzosa has been pushing for the implementation of gun amnesty to account for loose firearms and minimize election-related violent incidents.

With the PNP campaign against loose firearms, Senior Superintendent Danilo Maligalig, Firearms and Explosives Division deputy for administration, said a number of registered gun holders have already renewed their expired firearms licenses.

Verzosa said the PNP would ask the Commission on Elections to refrain from issuing exemptions so that the police could implement a total gun ban during the election period and lessen cases of election-related violence.

The PNP is also pushing for a measure that would increase penalties for illegal possession of firearms, depending on the quantities and calibers of the guns.

After the amnesty, the PNP will intensify the campaign against loose firearms and push for measures imprisoning firearm holders who failed to renew their gun licenses.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved