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Comelec won't insist on Arroyo transfer to detention cell if doctors say she's still sick

Two days after it asked a Pasay City court to transfer former President Gloria Arroyo to a regular detention cell], the Commission on Elections appeared to soften its stance, saying it will wait for clearance from her doctors.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Thursday they will push for Arroyo's transfer only when her doctors—including those at the St. Luke's Medical Center—affirm her condition has stabilized and she is fit to be moved.
"Kami we're not going to push through kung sabihin nila talagang may sakit pa. Pero kung sabihin ng lahat na doktor na magaling na, stable ang condition, walang reason para maiwan siya sa government hospital at the expense of the government," he said in an interview on dwIZ radio.
He said they are willing to listen to the report of the former leader's private doctors so the Pasay City court under Judge Jesus Mupas can render a fair ruling.
Brillantes noted Arroyo's lawyers have a pending motion before the court to allow house arrest for her.
However, he said the Comelec moved for Arroyo's transfer to a regular detention cell because it does not want to show the government is giving her special treatment.
On Tuesday, the Comelec said it asked the Pasay City court to move Arroyo from her suite at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City to a regular detention facility.
The Comelec asked the court to issue an order directing the VMMC director or other attending physicians to manifest the "necessity" of Arroyo's continued stay at the VMMC.
Arroyo has been detained at the VMMC since Dec. 9, following her transfer there from the SLMC.
The former leader, now a congresswoman representing Pampanga’s second legislative district, had been staying at the SLMC since Nov. 15, when she was barred from leaving the country.
She was placed under hospital arrest at the SLMC Nov. 18, after Mupas issued an order for her arrest on charges of electoral sabotage.
Brillantes said the Comelec is "sensitive to public opinion," including those questioning why Arroyo appears to be getting special treatment.
He said many have questioned her continued hospital arrest, at the government's expense.
The Comelec chairman noted the government had prepared a "special" detention facility for Arroyo at the Southern Police District headquarters in Taguig City.
"But all this will depend on the assessment and determination of the court and the judge, sila bahala. Kami motion lang kami, sila bahala, sa court," he said. –KG, GMA News