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Arroyo seeks court nod for Bro Mike's anniversary

MANILA, Philippines – Already distressed in hospital detention, former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will not let the opportunity pass to grace the wedding anniversary of a "close friend" and "spiritual adviser," even if it will cost her extra.

In a motion signed by Arroyo's lawyer Modesto Ticman Jr filed Monday, July 7, Arroyo asked anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to be allowed to grace the 50th wedding anniversary of El Shaddai Founder and charismatic leader Bro Mariano "Mike" Velarde and his wife Belen.

"She is ready and willing to pay for the actual additional expenses of her police and security escorts for her said furlough, such as gasoline, food, communication, and other expenses," Arroyo's motion read.

Arroyo was invited as a principal sponsor to the Velarde couple's renewal of vows. 

Also invited to Velarde's golden wedding celebration as principal sponsors are various dignitaries including the following politicians: former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr, and Former First Lady and now Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Romualdez-Marcos.

Velarde is often courted by political candidates because of the strong nationwide following of his religious organization, El Shaddai.

Arroyo's lawyer requested that the hearing on her motion be set on Friday, July 10, at 8:30 am. 

Spritual adviser

Velarde is "not only a close friend but one of her spiritual advisers as well," Arroyo's motion further read. 

Earlier, Arroyo said she was already experiencing "tremendous distress" in being a "prisoner in a hospital." (READ: Gloria Arroyo cites hospital 'distress' in bail plea)

Dr Arnulfo Lopez, a clinical psychologist, said a more "holistic approach" involving "family support, emotional stability and spiritual upliftment" is needed in Arroyo's treatment.

The former chief executive is detained in relation to her plunder case involving P366 million in allegedly misused charity funds. Plunder is a non-bailable offense. – Rappler.com