MANILA, Philippines – Former President and now Pampanga congresswoman is turning 67 on April 5, Saturday. Her wish? Spend the weekend of her birthday with her family – at the hospital where she’s detained.
Arroyo asked the Sandiganbayan on Tuesday, April 1, to allow her family and relatives to stay with her at her suite at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) from April 4 to 6.
“Celebrating her birthday…being with her husband and other immediate family members…is, without doubt, in keeping with the revered Christian and Filipino traditions of unity and togetherness of the family,” her counsel Modesto Ticman said in a 4-page urgent motion.
Arroyo has been under hospital arrest since October 4, 2012. She is facing a plunder charge for allegedly conspiring with Philippine Charity Sweeptakes Office executives to misuse around P366 million in intelligence funds during her presidency. Her health has deterioration due to problems with her spine, according to doctors.
Citing Arroyo’s attending physicians, Ticman said allowing a visit by her loved ones would be helpful to her condition.
He said the anti-graft court had allowed such visits to Arroyo in the past. Her family stayed with her for the whole of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.
For her relatives’ visit on her birthday weekend, Arroyo has sent the same request to the Philippine National Police-Police Security and Protection Office last March 27. She has yet to receive a response.
“Said entreaty has yet to be acted upon, thus leaving CGMA (Arroyo) with no other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy for the realization of her ardent wish to be able to spend quality time with her husband and immediate family members on the occasion of her 67th birthday,” Ticman said.
Under the PNP-PSPO’s Amended Security Protocol, only Arroyo’s immediate family – which include her husband, children, grandchildren, and siblings – are allowed to visit. They are, however, not allowed to stay overnight. – Rappler.com