Arroyo granted another furlough to attend brother-in-law’s wake
MANILA, Philippines—The Pasay Regional Trial Court has given former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo another furlough to attend her brother-in-law’s funeral Mass later this week, with her lawyers dropping an initial plan for her to join family members for the burial of Negros Occidental Representative Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo Jr.
In a closed-door meeting with prosecutors from the Commission on Elections and defense lawyers, Judge Jesus Mupas of RTC Branch 112 again gave Arroyo permission to leave the Veterans Memorial Medical Center on Friday morning so she can pay her last respects to Iggy Arroyo.
Arroyo’s counsel Ray Montri Santos told reporters Monday morning that the former president did not insist on having her furlough extended to the interment, citing the security preparations that would be required.
“If we were in charge of things, [Mrs. Arroyo] would like to be with her family, especially with her husband’s [relatives],” Santos said in Filipino. “But the president is aware what it will entail.”
Last week, Arroyo’s lawyers hinted they might ask the court for a leave from hospital detention in light of Iggy Arroyo’s funeral, but the former president instructed her counsel to drop the plan.
Arroyo, 64, has been held at the VMMC since December after the government charged her for allegedly rigging the 2007 senatorial election results in Maguindanao, conspiring with two other local officials. She suffers from a degenerative bone disorder, which requires close medical attention.
Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative, would be allowed to leave the hospital around 8 a.m. Friday and head for the family’s ancestral home at the exclusive La Vista Subdivision in Quezon City where the funeral Mass would be held at around 10 a.m., according to Santos.
As soon as the casket leaves La Vista for the interment rites at the Manila North Cemetery, Arroyo would return to VMMC, the lawyer said in explaining the mechanics of the furlough that Judge Mupas has set.
For her part, Comelec law department head Esmeralda Ladra said the prosecutors respected the court’s decision and reiterated they initially objected to the furlough. “We opposed it but it is up to the discretion of the court,” she told reporters after the closed-door session.
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