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Ex-President Gloria Arroyo to write memoirs during hospital arrest

Like father, like daughter.   After serving as the country’s chief executive like her father, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is now writing her memoirs tentatively entitled “Another Stone for the Edifice” and says she needs a laptop during her hospital arrest to continue the task.   In an exclusive interview for GMA News TV’s Tonight with Arnold Clavio telecast Friday evening, she said the book is intended as a follow-up to the memoirs of her father, former President Diosdado Macapagal, which was entitled “A Stone for the Edifice.”   The interview was made at the St. Luke’s Medical Center on Thursday, a day before Mrs. Arroyo was transferred to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center to serve her hospital arrest over charges of electoral fraud during the 2007 polls.   The Pasay regional trial court has refused to give Mrs. Arroyo, an incumbent Pampanga representative, access to a mobile phone or laptop during her confinement at the government hospital.   In the interview, she said she writes in the evenings and had completed about 40 pages of the manuscript.   “Ako ang nagbigay ng title,” Arroyo said of her father’s book. She recalled that she drew inspiration from a famous quote from the Philippines’ national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal: “It is a useless life that is not consecrated to a great ideal. It is like a stone wasted on the field without becoming a part of any edifice.”    Arroyo, who has undergone several surgeries and lengthy hospital confinement, said she needs a laptop so she would not have to use a typewriter to complete her memoirs.   Mrs. Arroyo’s tenure as President from 2001 to 2010 was ridden with corruption scandals and election controversies, including accusations of anomalies in the 2004 presidential elections where she was declared the winner. She has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.   The former president accused the administration of her successor, President Benigno Aquino III, of prejudging her and going after her family.   “Nakakalungkot ang paninirang-puri,” she said during the interview.   Second opinion from US-based surgeon   Mrs. Arroyo talked at length about her medical condition, and said she had sought a second opinion on her bone disorder from a Filipino surgeon based in the United States.   She named the physician as a certain Dr. Puno based in Kentucky, who had trained with one of her attending physicians, Dr. Mariano Ver.  Arroyo said Dr. Puno works at the second biggest spine surgery center in the US.   A Google search yielded the name of Dr. Rolando Madrid Puno, who is regarded as the “principal developer of the world's first poly-axial spinal pedicle screw, currently the industry standard for most spinal fixation implants used around the world.”   According to the website of the Norton Leatherman Spine Center, Dr. Puno is one of their faculty members and serves as medical director of the Orthopaedics Biomechanics Laboratory of the University of Louisville’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.   The former president said Dr. Ver consulted Dr. Puno about her medical condition. It was through these consultations that her doctors and Dr. Puno suspected she might have a combination of hypoparathyroidism and metabolic bone disorder, Arroyo said.   “Wala pa tayong diagnosis sa aking metabolic bone disease,” she added.   The doctors recommended further tests to confirm their suspicion, Arroyo said.   According to the Norton Leatherman Spine Center, “Dr. Puno received his B.S. in Premedical Studies at the University of Santo Tomas and his medical degree at the University of the East.   “He completed two full Orthopaedic Residency Training Programs at the University of the Philippines and at the University of Louisville. He is fellowship trained in trauma and joint replacement at the Hennepin County Medical Center and in spine surgery at the Twin Cities Scoliosis Center, both in Minneapolis, Minnesota,” the website added. –Earl Rosero/YA, GMA News