Not enough humanitarian reason

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By Dennis Limlingan

The Advocate

Thursday, April 3, 2014


THE Sandiganbayan has granted Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s request to allow her family to spend more time with her at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) this weekend to celebrate her 67th birthday on April 5.

Miraculously, prosecutors of the Office of the Ombudsman posed no objection to the plea of Arroyo, who is on trial for plunder for alleged involvement in the misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds who on the other hand, opposed to the plea of the former President’s camp for a furlough.

The anti-graft court’s First Division has approved the former President’s motion to be with her family based on humanitarian grounds. This, despite their denial of Cong. Arroyo’s wishes to spend her natal day in Lubao, Pampanga.

Cong. Arroyo has pleaded for a 3-day furlough but was denied by the said court. In December, she likewise sought the court’s approval to leave VMMC but was also denied.

For her birthday, her family could stay with her at the said government hospital from 9 a.m. on April 4 to 9:30 p.m. of April 6. The court has likewise emphasized that only her immediate relatives could be allowed to stay and sleep at the said medical institution.

Cong. Arroyo is still trying to convince the anti-graft court to grant her bail, premised on the fact that she is not a flight risk and that detention during trial is not meant to punish but only ensure that an accused will not flee.

The Sandiganbayan had already denied her petition for bail. This was based on a separate plea that her health is deteriorating and her continued stay in hospital is not helping her any.

The legal battle for Cong. Arroyo may still take time to reach to an end. Her stay at the VMMC may not be a better way to treat a former President.

While her health has been previously in danger, her stay at the hospital further helps the deterioration of her condition, thus the need that she be allowed to go out for some time.

It’s quite fortunate for her that she was granted the freedom to be with her family on her birthday, but I find it not enough for her celebration to be happy. She simply wants to be with her constituents who truly miss her.

If the reason of the court in granting her wish to be with her family albeit at a limited space at her hospital room is due to humanitarian reasons, the court should have been more human in granting her wish to go out to her people.

Cong. Arroyo is turning 67. Her simple wish, although already sealed by the court should have been granted, not because of her former position but even for a mere present for her during her natal day.

***

The staging of the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival at Prado Siongco, Lubao, Pampanga is getting nearer. Many are excited about it since it will be the first time that it will be held outside Clark.

It can be recalled that it was previously held at the said Freeport for the past years, until a problem with the organizers got in the way. The latter blamed the time element and the lack of preparation for it as their reason for cancelling the event at Clark.

If it was called off, it will be a big loss to the tourism and business industry in the province. Fortunately, Lubao came to the rescue. What Clark cannot, Lubao can!

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For any comments, ideas, suggestions or opinions, text or call The Advocate at 09213636360 or send email at dencious@yahoo.com.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on April 04, 2014.

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