Rep. Ignacio Arroyo Jr. (Neg. Occ., 5th District), who fought a long battle against cirrhosis of the liver, passed away in London yesterday.
Arroyo was declared clinically dead earlier in the day but last night his older brother former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo and sister Ma. Lourdes Arroyo said his life support system had been removed.
The third term Negros Occidental congressman was 60.
Grace Ibuna, the congressman’s long-time companion, who has been with him in London, told the DAILY STAR that while the congressman was still on life support yesterday she pleaded with him to fight for his life and had been hoping and praying for a miracle.
Ibuna, who was weeping over the phone, said the congressman had been put on life support at the London Clinic after being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance at 11 p.m. on Wednesday (about 7 a.m. yesterday Manila time).
“It all happened so fast,” she said.
The congressman had gone to London late last year for treatment of his liver problem.
Ibuna said she was the only family member with the congressman since the other relatives went home after the holidays.
She said they had planned on returning to the Philippines because the congressman was getting better after he underwent blood transfusion for anemia.
She said their plan was to first go on a brief trip to Rome to meet some friends, before returning to the Philippines, either in the last week of January or first week of February.
But last Wednesday, Arroyo was rushed to the London Clinic after he developed a fever. Arroyo was said to have succumbed to cardiac arrest.
Arroyo's physicians put him on life support and gave him medications but the congressman did not respond to treatment, Ibuna said.
“They have already given him the maximum dose. I am asking him to fight for his life. I don’t know what to do, ” Ibuna said at the time.
Ibuna, a businesswoman, said she and Arroyo had been “inseparable...like two peas in a pod and she can’t imagine life without him.”
IN A DAZE
His sister, former Kasangga Rep. Ma. Lourdes Arroyo, said her brother suffered from cardiac arrest at about 7 a.m. (Manila time), his heart stopped but was revived and he was put on life support, although was said to be clinically dead.
Last night she confirmed that her brother had died after the life support was removed.
She said they were in a daze, his death came as a surprise, it is something they did not expect. He had called a few days earlier, saying he would be home coming home at the end of the month, she said.
Arroyo is survived by his daughters, Bianca and Dina, from his first marriage; and Alelu from his second marriage to Alicia Morales-Arroyo, former chairperson of the Philippine Stock Exchange, from whom he separated in 2006.
Bianca was reported to be flying to London from the United States.
Arroyo was first elected as congressman of Negros Occidental's 5thdistrict in 2004 in his first foray into politics.
But more than a congressman, Arroyo was known as the loyal brother to former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo.
Before his sister-in-law became president, Arroyo would drive Gloria Arroyo around during her visits in Negros Occidental. The former president would fondly call him Ignacito.
When controversy over properties allegedly owned by the first couple in San Francisco, California, arose, Arroyo said they were his.
In 2003, Senator Panfilo Lacson delivered a privilege speech, linking Mike Arroyo to the "Jose Pidal" bank accounts, which he said were for laundered money.
But Ignacio Arroyo came forward and admitted that he was “Jose Pidal.” He also maintained that there was nothing illegal about the account under Jose Pidal.
In August last year, Ignacio Arroyo came to the defense of his brother, Mike Arroyo who was accused of having a hand in the alleged anomalous sale of helicopters to the Philippine National Police in 2009.
Iggy said his brother did not own the Robinson helicopters sold as new to the PNP since they were only leased from Lionair, Inc. – the company owned by Archibald Po, who linked the former First Gentleman to the scandal, by the Arroyo-owned company, LTA (Lourdes T. De Arroyo) Inc.
Lacson at the time said the congressman had developed the habit of rescuing his big brother.
The congressman’ss early education began in Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City. He finished High School in 1969 at Villanova Preparatory High School in Ojai, California, USA, and took his preparatory course in Menlo College in Palo Alto, California. He then went on to pursue his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, Major in Finance, at the University of San Francisco, California, USA where he graduated in 1974.*CPG