BY RAYMOND AFRICA
‘I’ve been demonized; my conscience is clear’
SECURITY measures are in place for the transfer today of Gloria Arroyo from the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.
The PNP would not say, for security reasons, what time Arroyo will be brought to the VMMC.
Arroyo will be transferred by land but choppers will be placed on standby in case there will be last-minute changes, said Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr., PNP spokesman.
Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo told a television interview that the move would likely be after 8 a.m. because Arroyo’s latest medical update would be given at around that time.
Arroyo, who has been ordered arrested by a Pasay court for a case of electoral sabotage, will not be handcuffed during her transfer.
“This is in consideration of medical condition, and respect, and courtesy na rin as a former president,” Cruz said.
Arroyo said her conscience is clear and that she is a victim of pre-judgment.
She made the statement in an interview last night with Arnold Clavio of GMA 7 at the presidential suite in St. Luke’s where she has been staying since November 15 when she tried to leave for Hong Kong but were prevented by immigration authorities.
“I have peace of mind dahil malinis ang aking konsensya. Bukod tanging layunin ko ay maglingkod. I did my best…I have been pre-judged pero ako ay naniniwala sa rule of law,” Arroyo said.
Arroyo, who appeared in the interview without her neck brace, said the Aquino administration used “demagoguery” to demonize her.
She said her faith in God prevails in spite of the cases that she is now facing. She said she continues to abide by the advice of her father, former president Diosdado Macapagal, “to do your best and let God take care of the rest.”
Because of her hospital arrest, Arroyo said she has resorted to online Christmas shopping for he grandchildren. Arroyo will not be allowed to use a mobile phone or a laptop once she is transferred to VMMC.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said President Aquino instructed Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo to ensure Arroyo’s security and her orderly transfer.
The PNP said the National Capital Region Police Office will be the lead unit in ensuring Arroyo’s safe transfer to the VMMC while the AFP’s National Capital Regional Command will be on standby for any contingency.
The military’s National Capital Region Command has put on standby three companies of Civil Disturbance Management troops.
Maj. Gen. Tristan Kison, NCRcom chief, said a battalion is on standby.
Kison also said they are anticipating demonstration but he is confident these can be handled by the police.
“The threat (of rally) from the supporters is always there but that is in the equation (in our preparations). Rallies are normal and that was included in the equation in our planning,” he said.
Peter Paul Galvez, spokesman of the defense department which has supervision over the VMMC, said the presidential suite of the VMCC is ready for occupancy by Arroyo.
The presidential suite is the same room occupied by former President Joseph Estrada while facing trial for plunder.
Arroyo was originally scheduled to be transferred to the VMMC last Monday but the court granted her camp’s request to stay longer at St. Luke’s while some renovations are done at the VMMC suite. – With Regina Bengco, Victor Reyes, Jocelyn Montemayor and Ashzel Hachero