Sandiganbayan grants Arroyo Christmas furlough

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Sandiganbayan grants Arroyo Christmas furlough
(UPDATED) The anti-graft court allows former president Gloria Arroyo to go home to her residence in La Vista in Quezon City from Tuesday, December 23 to Friday, December 26

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Former president Gloria Arroyo, currently under hospital arrest for an ongoing plunder case, has been granted a Christmas furlough by the Sandiganbayan on Monday, December 22.

Arroyo will be allowed to go home to her residence in La Vista in Quezon City from Tuesday, December 23 to Friday, December 26, with the court’s 1st Division citing “mercy and compassion” – the theme of the upcoming papal visit in January – as a reason for granting the request.

The furlough will start at 10 am on Tuesday, and she has to be back at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) by 2 pm on Friday.

The furlough originally requested was from December 23 to January 3 – or until after the New Year – but the court only allowed a Christmas furlough.

The court said the former president is still not allowed to use gadgets, and her communications will be supervised. Security expenses will also be on Arroyo’s dime, the court added

In addition, media interviews will not be allowed.

Arroyo, who is now a member of Congress representing Pampanga, is on hospital arrest due to plunder charges over the alleged misuse of P366 million worth of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds when she was president.

This is the first time the anti-graft court granted her request for a holiday furlough.

In 2011 and 2012, the court denied her requests. In 2013, she was not allowed to leave detention, but her family was granted extended visiting hours during the holidays. –

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