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‘The Great Escape,’ starring Gloria Arroyo


No, this is not a remake of the classic 1963 movie, “The Great Escape,” starring Steve McQueen, a non-fiction mass escape of Allied prisoners of war from a German POW camp during World War II.  The “Great Escape” of 2011 is inspired by true events that followed the ascension of Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III to the presidency on June 30, 2010, which was once occupied by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo -- who was ignominiously named the “Most Corrupt President in the History of the Philippines.”  “The Great Escape” features no other than the “Queen of Corruption” herself.    

*The plot
It is believed that “The Great Escape” may have been plotted as soon as P-Noy was sworn in as President of the Philippines on June 30, 2010.

During the presidential campaign, P-Noy vowed to bring Gloria and her cronies to justice for all the corruption that happened during her nine-year reign.  

P-Noy systematically laid the groundwork for the prosecution of Gloria and her husband, Mike Arroyo.  He created the Truth Commission and appointed Gloria’s ally, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., as chairman of the body.  Davide’s appointment did not bode well with a lot of Gloria watchers who believe that it was a mistake, which presumably could only lead to a whitewash.  But the Truth Commission didn’t go very far because it was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.    

Then P-Noy went after Ombudsman Merceditas “Merci” Gutierrez who was perceived as Gloria’s first line of defense.  P-Noy succeeded in getting Merci impeached by the House of Representatives.  And just when the Senate was preparing to conduct an impeachment trial, Merci resigned.   

On July 25, 2011, P-Noy delivered his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).  The highlight of his SONA was the appointment of the new Ombudsman.  “When the new Ombudsman, former Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, takes office, we will have an honest-to-goodness anti-corruption office, not one that condones the corruption and abuses in government,” P-Noy said, receiving one of the loudest and strongest applause from the audience.  “I expect that this year, we will have filed our first major case against the corrupt and their accomplices. And these will be real cases, with strong evidence and clear testimonies, which will lead to the punishment of the guilty,” he said.  

*The escape plan
But Gloria -- who is now a congresswoman representing Pampanga’s second district -- was not present at the SONA event.  She was supposedly in her district talking to her constituents.  At around 5:00 pm, at just about the time that P-Noy announced the appointment of Carpio-Morales, Gloria was rushed to St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City for reasons unknown.  According to one of her political allies, Gloria was “feeling the stress brought about by the controversies and legal cases she’s been facing these past few months.”

The following week, Gloria was hospitalized for problems with her cervical spine, which was characterized by her doctors as a “damaged cervical spine with multilevel cervical spondylosis.”  After she was treated and discharged, she developed an infection and was rushed back to the hospital.  After recovering from the infection, she was rushed back to the hospital again.

While Gloria was in the hospital, Mike took off for Germany supposedly to look for a stem cell specialist.  After about a week, he came home and announced that he found a stem cell specialist to treat Gloria.

Gloria was eventually discharged from the hospital and was advised to stay home to recuperate.  And this was when the script became fuzzy.  Gloria’s political allies said that she needed to seek medical treatment abroad because her illness is “life-threatening” and there are no doctors in the Philippines who could treat her medical problem.

*The move
Then Mike issued a statement saying that his wife’s ailment was “hypoparathyroidism.” He claimed that it was a “rare disease” but not life-threatening.  However, he said, “It seems there is no expert in the Philippines who can treat her ailment.”  
Consequently, Gloria requested travel authority from the Speaker of the House of Representatives to travel to Germany and the United States.  A few days later, she amended her request for travel to include Singapore, Spain, and Italy.  The travel authority was granted and valid from October 22 to December 5.

Last October 12, P-Noy announced that charges would be filed against Gloria in November.  Whatever reason P-Noy had in making the unusual announcement, it made people scratch their head in disbelief.  But it certainly scared Gloria!  The charges of electoral sabotage that will be filed against her are non-bailable offense. 

*The trap
In a surprise move last October 27, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima issued a watch list order for Gloria and Mike Arroyo and 40 others. The following day, Malacañang gave De Lima a free hand in deciding whether to allow Gloria to go abroad to seek medical treatment. 

The question is: Is it necessary for Gloria to go abroad for treatment of hypoparathyroidism, a medical condition that can be treated with Calcium and Vitamin D supplements?   In my opinion, this is something that the doctors at St. Luke Medical Center in Taguig City should know since they were the ones who diagnosed her condition in the first place.  Calcium and Vitamin D supplements are available at local pharmacies.  

*The scoop
Recently, a friend of mine, Ernie D. of Southern California, sent me an email in response to my recent article, “Would Gloria come back?”  Ernie said: “A doctor in Southern California, who is close to this ‘fake’ president told me over lunch, that your theory hits the nail on its head.  Her medical condition, according to him, is a good ‘façade’…  she is not really that sick. A month or so, before her ‘hospitalization,’ my doctor friend told me that he was with her and Governor Pineda (the wife of the reputed jueteng king Boy Pineda) with another couple shopping in Orange County’s opulent South Coast Plaza.

“My doctor friend told me that she would most likely seek asylum in a friendly country to enjoy their great wealth.  ‘If none among the Marcoses has been incarcerated to this date, what makes us think that NOW the Arroyos will be incarcerated or convicted,’ the doctor opined!  And he might be right after all!”

*The Great Escape
The theory that Ernie referred to in my article is: “Could it be that Gloria’s trip to the U.S. purportedly to attend Clinton’s conference is actually part of a plan that would allow her and Mike to seek political asylum in the United States?  And once the Arroyos have applied for political asylum, they would be allowed to stay in the U.S. while their application is being processed, which could take several years.”
While Steve McQueen failed in the 1963 “The Great Escape,” the “Queen of Corruption” might be able to make it in the “The Great Escape” of 2011...  that is, if De Lima allows her to leave the country.

By Perry Diaz

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