After a month of stakeouts, the much-awaited move finally had a date: December 9.
It meant the news media could relax a little and even reassign momentarily some of the OB vans or people that have long-guarded the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City.
One station appropriated its St. Luke’s van for the “Occupy Mendiola” protests that diverted attention to the Palace doorstep days before the scheduled transfer. The van returned to find its spot intact and still reserved.
Reporters from the so-called “St. Luke’s press corps” could soon say goodbye to their joked-about Christmas party, and also to the air-conditioned waiting area complete with hot water and the occasional gratis snack courtesy of the hospital.
Media waiting outside St Luke's Medical Center in Taguig City
But while everyone finally knew the day, no one knew the hour former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would be brought to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City, where she was ordered by court to spend her hospital arrest.
And despite the frequent ambush interviews at the media area–all carried live on ANC–no spokesperson would drop a clue.
“Probably between 12 midnight and 11:59 in the evening,” said Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, lawyer to Arroyo’s husband Mike, and now infamous for humorously answering media queries and jesting with reporters.
So the media cast a bigger net and presumed the former President would leave before dawn, when traffic would be freer.
At ABS-CBN News, plans were set to open the morning show earlier should the transfer occur before 5 a.m. The desk ran over likely scenarios during meetings that lasted till 7 p.m. the night before.
Our news-gathering and technical crews were advised to report for work at midnight in the earliest.