Grace Ibuna shuns word war vs Iggy's wife

Posted at 01/28/2012 7:21 PM | Updated as of 01/29/2012 11:50 AM

Rep. Ignacio Arroyo Jr.'s and common-law wife Grace Ibuna

LONDON – The family of Grace Ibuna, the common-law wife of the late Negros Occidental Representative Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo, refused to engage in a word war with Iggy’s legal wife Alicia "Aleli" Morales-Arroyo.

This, after Aleli expressed plans to file charges against Grace for allegedly giving the go-signal to pull the plug on their clinically-dead husband.

Instead of commenting publicly on the threat of a lawsuit, Grace’s sister, Marilyn Ibuna-Bernardi, instead appealed to everyone to offer prayers to the late congressman.

“People are grieving, let them grieve. All we are asking are prayers for Iggy, prayers for all the families,” said Marilyn.

Aleli is set to fly to London along with her lawyer to claim the body of her husband.

Meanwhile, Bianca, Iggy’s eldest daughter with his first wife Marilen Jacinto, is already in London and has signed her father’s death certificate.Iggy's marriage to Marilen is annulled.

“It’s shocking but death is always shocking. Nobody is ever really prepared for that,” said Bianca.

Grace's daughter with actor Gabby Concepcion, Garie, also flew to London from Manila to be with her mother to give support.

Grace was with Iggy in London for nearly four months as he underwent medical treatment for his liver ailment. She has refused to face the media since Iggy's death.

Iggy passed away on Thursday after life-support systems were removed from his body.

Legal wife

Rep. Ignacio Arroyo Jr.'s and legal wife Alicia "Aleli" Morales-Arroyo

The remains of Arroyo are at a funeral home in the United Kingdom.

Aleli wants to bring his remains to their home in La Vista subdivision, Quezon City for his wake.

However, Grace, who was at the lawmaker's bedside when he died in London, wants to take charge of his burial.

Grace claimed that it was Iggy's wish.

But according to a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Grace should give way to the legal wife.

“She’s presumed to have all the rights of the spouse to take charge over the estate, over the remains,” said Atty. Trixie Angeles.

Grace may also face civil and criminal charges for allegedly deciding to take Iggy off life support without seeking consent from his family.

“If Ms. Ibuna misrepresented herself as married to Mr. Arroyo at the time that she gave permission to pullout the life support, then she will be liable,” said Angeles.

The IBP also said that the law protects the rights of the legal wife in recognition of the value of marriage and family. -- Reports from Danny Buenafe, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau Chief; Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News; ANC