Court grants Arroyo petition

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014


THE anti-graft court granted Wednesday morning the request of Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to allow her immediate family members to stay overnight at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City this weekend for her 67th birthday.

In the decision signed by Sandiganbayan presiding Judge Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz and Justices Rodolfo Ponferrada and Rafael Lagos, the court allowed Arroyo's close family members to stay the whole day of April 4, 5, and 6, citing humanitarian reasons.

"The court hereby grants the said motion, and as prayed for, accused Arroyo's 'immediate family members' as defined under paragraph II A(b) of the Amended Closed-in Security Protocol Relative to the Hospital Arrest of Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center… are hereby allowed to stay with the said accused the whole day of April 4, 5, and 6, 2014 at here detention quarter," the resolution stated.

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The Pampanga lawmaker has been directed by the court to submit the list of her immediate family members who will be staying at VMMC at least one day before those mentioned dates.

Last Tuesday, Modesto Ticman, counsel of Arroyo, said in a four-page "urgent" motion that celebrating the former President's birthday with her husband and immediate family members is in keeping with the revered Christian and Filipino traditions of "unity and togetherness of the family."

Ticman said that according to Arroyo's physicians, allowing visits by her loved ones would be helpful in alleviating her condition.

He said that in the past, the anti-graft court had allowed Arroyo to be visited by her family on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day.

She has been under hospital arrest since October 2012. According to doctors, her health has deteriorated due to spinal problems.

The country's former chief executive, who will celebrate her 67th birthday on April 5, is currently under hospital arrest due to a plunder case filed against her for allegedly defrauding the government of P366-million through unlawful transfer of confidential and intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) from January 2008 to June 2010.

The Sandiganbayan First Division junked last month Arroyo's furlough petition to celebrate her birthday in her hometown in Lubao, Pampanga. (John Carlo Cahinhinan/Sunnex and Kristine Venet Q. Andal)

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on April 03, 2014.

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