MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Sandiganbayan allowed the family of former president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to spend 3 days with her from April 4-6 to celebrate her 67th birthday.
In a resolution released Wednesday, April 2, the anti-graft court granted the family’s request that they be allowed to spend more time with her at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City, where she is detained on plunder charges.
The Sandiganbayan directed court personnel to immediately furnish the Philippine National Police-Police Security and Protection Group a copy of the single-page order for its implementation and guidance.
“…(T)he court hereby grants the said motion and, as prayed for, accused Arroyo’s immediate family members …are hereby allowed to stay with the said accused the whole day of April 4, 5, and 6, 2014, at her detention quarters at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center,” the court declared.
However, Arroyo’s camp was reminded that the term “immediate family members” should be defined based on the Amended Closed-in Security Protocol Relative to the Hospital Arrest of Former President Macapagal-Arroyo.
The protocol defines the term to cover the defendant’s “spouse, parent, children, brother or sister, grandparent or grandchildren, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece, and guardian or ward.”
Arroyo’s request sought clearances for the visit of her family members and other relatives.
Arroyo turns 67 on Saturday, April 5. The court resolution granting her family’s request was signed by Associate Justices Rafael Lagos, Rodolfo Ponferrada and Efren de la Cruz.
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 deteriorated due to problems with her spine, according to doctors.
Under 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