[PHOTO - The patient's room at the presidential suite of St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig City, where Arroyo is currently staying. Photo from St. Luke's website]

MANILA, NOVEMBER 25 2011 (ABS-CBN) Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is currently under hospital arrest at St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig City.

Since last week, Arroyo, 64, has been staying in the hospital's lone presidential suite which The Philippine Star reported costs P50,000 a day, or P47,619 for senior citizens.

The amount is more than half the monthly salary of President Benigno Aquino III, which is pegged at over P90,000, excluding taxes.

Aquino received his first paycheck of P63,002.17 in July last year.

St. Luke's has described its presidential suite as the "tops" among all the rooms, with "more than complete amenities you would actually aspire to stay."

It is divided into four rooms: receiving area, patient's room, kitchen, bathroom, and guest room.

The patient's room comes with a day bed, a swivel chair, a La-Z boy chair, a TV console, a personal computer with printer and scanner, a 40-inch plasma TV with a wall-mounted sound system, a DVD player, four tables and a safety deposit box.

The suite's dining area which has an eight-seater dining table, while the bathroom comes with a jacuzzi.

The guest room, meanwhile, also has its own 40-inch plasma TV, two single beds, a toilet and a bathroom.

[PHOTO - The dining room at the presidential suite can seat eight guests. Photo from St. Luke's website]

An ordinary hospital room usually contains a bed, a table and a chair.

Several Filipinos turned to Twitter to complain about Arroyo's luxurious hospital room.

"Learned that GMA is staying in a 50k presidential suite which includes a jacuzzi and a dinner table. This is where all our money went," user Leanne Tan wrote.

"Gloria Arroyo's room in St. Luke's Taguig, the lone presidential suite, costs P50,000 a day -- the most private and secluded in the hospital," user Erwin Louie Castillo wrote.

"She worked hard for this. Manipulating polls and all," user Bonxz wrote.

Arroyo is said to be in delicate condition due to hypoparathyroid and bone diseases, and is awaiting trial for electoral sabotage.

Atty. Raul Lambino, Arroyo's legal spokesperson, said the Pampanga congresswoman is also suffering from diarrhea, poor appetite and stress.

A Pasay Regional Trial Court judge issued an arrest warrant against Arroyo after she was charged with electoral sabotage by the Commission on Elections last week.

This prevented the former President from seeking medical treatment abroad.

Early this week, the Southern Police District's (SPD) library and media lounge were cleaned and repainted to serve as a temporary detention cell for Arroyo.

The room, with its own toilet, new bed and air conditioner, is a lot better when compared to an ordinary jail cell.

The SPD has said that Arroyo, being a former President, deserves to be given utmost respect.


Gloria Arroyo mug shots taken while hooked to IV drip By Cynthia D. Balana, Tarra Quismundo Philippine Daily Inquirer

As head of state she was honored in state banquets and greeted with military salutes, but on Saturday she was booked on charges of electoral sabotage, becoming the second ex-Philippine President to be detained on criminal allegations.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now a representative of Pampanga, was not only wearing a neck brace over her hospital gown but was also hypertensive, “frail-looking” and hooked to an IV drip when she went through the standard booking procedure, police said.

“We proceeded to [her] room. We took her photographs, portrait and profile (left and right side) for our mug book reference,” Senior Supt. Joel Coronel, chief of the Metro Manila regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), told reporters in a briefing Saturday afternoon.

Police took Arroyo’s finger and palm prints, and was checked by police medical officers to determine whether she indeed had to remain at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City, where the warrant for her arrest was served on Friday evening.

Said Coronel: “[She] will remain under guard and detention here … until such time the warrant will be returned to court and a compliance report submitted to court. And it will be up to the court, again exercising its sound discretion, whether to order the continued confinement of President Arroyo here or transfer her to another detention facility.”

Erap on Gloria Arroyo arrest: It's karma November 19, 2011 6:23pm 0 Email0 0 ShareThisNew

Former President Gloria Arroyo's predecessor, Joseph Estrada, told local media on Saturday that Arroyo’s arrest was "karma" and he hoped her health would recover so she could face the charges.

"She should be made accountable not only for electoral sabotage but also corruption," he said from Singapore.

In an interview on Saturday noontime on GMA News’ Balitanghali, Estrada also said he hopes Arroyo can recover soonest so she can face the charges against her.

“Hindi natutulog ang Panginoong Diyos. Alam niya ang dapat gawin sa nangyayari sa ating bansa," he said.

'Don't compare us'

Estrada said the Filipino people are aware of the “offenses" Arroyo had committed, ranging from stealing the presidency to cheating in the 2004 and 2008 elections.

He said Arroyo will also have to answer to charges of corruption, such as the P728-million fertilizer fund mess and the $329.48-million ZTE broadband deal scam.

“Diyos ko, alam ng sambayanang Pilipino kung anong ginawa niya. Nang-agaw ng pwesto, nandaya sa 2004 election pati ang mahal na kaibiigan ko hindi nakaupo ... Sa 2007 nandaya para manalo ang partido niya," he said.

“Sa madaling salita hindi lang electoral sabotage o pandaraya sa election kundi sa corruption (She should be made accountable not only for electoral sabotage but also corruption)," he added.

Estrada also insisted there was no basis to compare him and Arroyo, even though both were arrested shortly after stepping down from power.

He also said the Arroyo administration repeatedly offered to have him go abroad in exchange for dropping charges against him, but he refused.

Estrada said people should pray that Arroyo’s health is restored so she can face the charges against her.

“Ang akin lang pagdasal natin siya na talagang kanyang kalusugan para lahat na kaso at paratang na laban sa kanya maharap niya. Lahat ng public officials are accountable to the Filipino people. Kailangan ipaliwanag niya kung anong masasabi niya sa paratang laban sa kanya," he said.

Hospital arrest

Estrada favored hospital arrest for Arroyo. “Puwede siguro pabayaan sa hospital arrest," he said.

Saying the case is now in court, Malacañang said it will let the Pasay City court decide on where arrested former President Gloria Arroyo will be detained.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte declined to comment on whether the Palace would prefer that Arroyo stay at a government-run hospital.

“That will be a matter that will be resolved if and when lawyers of the former president move to with the presiding judge, with the court. Everything that happens from hereon is officially under jurisdiction and discretion of Judge (Jesus) Mupas," she said on government-run dzRB radio.

Valte was responding to a question on whether the Palace would prefer that Arroyo be detained at a government hospital.

Arroyo was arrested Friday evening over charges of electoral sabotage. She has been staying at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City since Tuesday night.

“Klaro ang nangyari kahapon the former president was in the hospital for her medical condition, ‘yan ang very clear, she was in the hospital because of her condition," Valte said.

Arroyo has not been seen in public since Tuesday night, when, following the initial Supreme Court decision to lift her travel ban, she had turned up at the airport in a wheelchair and her neck in a brace.

The government stopped her and her husband from boarding a flight and she has since been in the hospital, where she was formally arrested on Friday.

On Monday, the Pasay City court that issued her arrest warrant will hear a separate petition to issue a hold departure order, which could permanently prevent Arroyo from leaving the country. — with Reuters/ELR, GMA News

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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