PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — FIRST Gentleman Atty. Jose Miguel Arroyo yesterday smoked a peace pipe and offered an olive leaf to his fiercest and harshest critics as he withdrew all 42 libel suits filed against journalists.
The humbling gesture coincided with the World Press Day and came several days after Mr. Arroyo left the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City following a high risk open heart surgery.
In his press statement read for him by Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye at Malacañang, the First Gentleman ordered his lawyers to desist from pursuing the libel suits he had filed against the members of the Fourth State over the past couple of years.
The First Gentleman praised his severest critics, notably Genuine Opposition senatoriable Alan Peter Cayetano, for their compassion in wishing for his speedy recovery.
“The overwhelming kindness of those who have kept vigil with me over this process, and the compassion of even some of my harshest critics has truly been a humbling experience for me. Both in sincere gratitude to a nation that deserves a more harmonious leadership, and as a gesture of peace to the many kind hearts who have helped my family weather this crisis, I have instructed my attorneys to withdraw all the libel suits pending before the courts,” the First Gentleman said in his statement.
He further said “redress for all the grievances that the libel suit sought to address now pales in comparison to taking on a genuine chance to make peace and to pursue a more positive and constructive relationship with those who will accept my offer of a handshake.”
He admitted that his hospitalization has been a humbling experience out of a dreadful order as he praised God for the miracles from a very low survival rate of such high risk surgery even the doctors belied that his recover is nothing short of a miracle.”
The First Gentleman likewise thanked Mrs. Arroyo who he called as his constant light in his life, who steadied him and who has rallied behind him throughout his ordeal “a lesser person would not have been able to take care of me, and still take on the duties of the President.”
He also praised all his medical team headed by Dr. Juliet Cervantes and doctors from the St. Louis Hospital in Baguio City as well as his children and other members of the family and the entire nation who poured on their concern and support throughout his life threatening ordeal.
Mia Gonzales of Business Mirror whom the First Gentleman sued for libel felt relieved and pleased with the announcement, adding that he must have reflected on the libel case in connection with his fate as well as followed doctors advice for him to avoid stress.