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Court gives Arroyo 7 hours to attend Ignacio’s wake

Former President and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

The Pasay Regional Trial Court has given former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo a seven-hour furlough on Thursday to allow her to attend the wake of her brother-in-law,   Negros Occidental Representative Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo Jr., who passed away in London last month.

Pasay RTC Branch 112 Judge Jesus Mupas issued the order after both Commission on Elections (Comelec) prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed on the length and mechanics of the furlough during a meeting Monday morning, according to court spokesperson Felda Domingo.

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“The [furlough] is good up to Thursday, March 1, only,” Domingo explained to the Philippine Daily Inquirer when asked whether Arroyo, now Pampanga representative, would still be allowed a leave from detention should the arrival of Iggy’s remains be postponed again.

“The defense will have to submit another manifestation to reflect any changes,” she said.

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Arroyo’s plea went without much challenge from the Comelec prosecutors, who had maintained in previous hearings that they would not object to the leave from detention, citing the  Filipino custom and tradition of grieving with one’s family.

Arroyo’s lawyer, Benjamin Santos, earlier sought a three-day furlough but this was watered down to seven hours by the court, which allowed the former president to go to the exclusive La Vista Subdivision in Quezon City where the wake would be held.

Mupas initially granted Arroyo’s furlough last week, allowing the former president to leave detention on February 25 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The leave was shelved after the arrival of Iggy’s remains did not push through.

Arroyo pleaded not guilty to a charge of electoral sabotage on Thursday.

Her  husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo, said Iggy’s remains would finally arrive in Manila on Wednesday night via Emirates Airline.

Arroyo said the remains would be accompanied by Iggy’s eldest child by his first wife Marilyn Jacinto.

From the airport, the body will be brought to Arlington Funeral Homes where it will be prepared.

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In a text message, Arroyo said Iggy’s wake would start on March 1 at the Arroyo family home at 14 Badjao St., La Vista, Quezon City.

Iggy’s remains will be transferred on March 3 to his own house at 17 Badjao St. where it would stay until March 4.

On the morning of March 5, Iggy’s remains will be brought to the House of Representatives for a necrological service. At 4 p.m.,  his remains will be flown to Bacolod City.

A three-day wake has been scheduled in his hometown of Kabankalan, Negros Occidental. His remains will be brought back to Manila for a funeral Mass and burial at the Manila North Cemetery on March 9.

The arrival of Iggy’s remains has been delayed for a month since his death at a London clinic due to a legal row between his long-time partner, Grace Ibuna, and estranged wife, Alicia “Aleli” Morales Arroyo.

When Iggy’s remains are finally buried, it will be Aleli who will receive the burial flag during his funeral.

“Of course, because she is the legal wife,” Aleli’s lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, replied when asked if Aleli would receive the customary burial flag from the government.

A visibly pleased Aleli expressed gratitude that her husband, though long estranged, would be finally home.

“I thank the Lord … my daughter is happy that finally her father will be able to come home. I am very happy that we didn’t have to go through a full blown trial and restraining order,” she said.

Aleli will be in charge of the wake at 17 Badjao St. while Mike Arroyo will coordinate the wake at their family home at 14 Badjao St.

Sister Marilou Arroyo is coordinating the wake in Bacolod.

Judge Eleuterio Bathan of QC RTC Branch 92 reminded all parties to make sure the agreement was followed. With a report from Julie M. Aurelio

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TAGS: Comelec, electoral sabotage, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Ignacio Arroyo, Pasay RTC
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