Arroyo critic visits ailing detained ex-leader

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

A PROMINENT critic of former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Saturday visited the ailing former leader who is currently under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.

Former Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz said that he visited the country's former Chief Executive at her detention room and told her that he can't play deaf, dumb and blind for the wrong doings of her administration, which lasted for almost a decade.

"I told her I'm sorry if I hurt you but I have to speak. I cannot play deaf, dumb and blind," Cruz said.

Cruz said that he went there to seek Arroyo's understanding as far as his observations against her are concerned since during the former President's tenure, the retired bishop had been critical at the controversies hounding her nine-year administration.

He even said that he believes that Arroyo is not only being prosecuted, "she is in fact being persecuted by the present administration."

"She never said anything bad against me. I also stopped talking against her as soon as she was brought to prison, because when somebody is down, you don't’ step on that person," Cruz added.

The prominent local Catholic Church figure even criticized President Benigno Aquino III for blaming all the current problems of his administration to the detained former leader.

"If I remember right, in all of the State of the Nation Address (Sona) of the incumbent president [Aquino], she [Arroyo] was always being made into some kind of an escape-goat and that is not fair, that’s why I went to her for some kind of reconciliation," Cruz said.

Asked if he would urge Aquino to also pay Arroyo a visit, Cruz said: "Baka magkaroon lang ng pagpapanggap kasi sa tingin ko kumukulo ang dugo ni P-Noy (Aquino) sa kanya."

The bishop stayed at Arroyo's detention room for almost an hour and gave the Pampanga lawmaker a rosary before he left.

The former CBCP president described their meeting "very friendly."

"She received me very well, I felt very welcome. We spoke for some time… I found her better looking than before although she has lost some weight, and tingin ko sa kanya mabuti naman ang kalagayan niya pero mahirap ang nakakulong sa hospital," the retired prelate said.

Aside from Cruz, a television report said that former Vice President Noli de Castro also paid a visit to the former leader on Saturday "in the spirit of Christmas." (Sunnex)

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