MANILA: Embattled former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Friday observed her 66th birthday while under arrest inside a government hospital in Metro Manila for plunder which is non-bailable and carries the maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
But even while in detention, her spokesman said Arroyo was happy and considered one of her best birthday gifts the acknowledgement by the international debt watcher Fitch of her efforts that strengthened the Philippine economy.
As a result, Fitch raised the country’s credit rating to investment grade, a first for the Philippines, which it attributed to Arroyo, according to the spokesman.
The spokesman added about 50 members of her family and political allies led by her husband lawyer Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo as well as their children joined the ailing former president inside a government-run hospital in suburban Quezon City, Metro Manila in celebrating her birthday.
Her husband said that aside from flowers, he gifted Arroyo with a scarf and perfume on her birthday as he expressed the hope that she would release because she was ailing.
“My birthday wish for her is that the courts dismiss all the charges against her because this is all prosecution,” Mike Arroyo said.
“I wish,” he added, “that the courts would decide fairly and justly based on evidence and not on pressure or enticements from Malacanang Palace.”