Monday, December 17, 2012

Arroyo petitions court for Christmas furlough

Arroyo petitions court for Christmas furlough
By Manolo B. Jara     December 16, 2012    

MANILA: Embattled former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has petitioned a special court called the Sandiganbayan to allow her to leave a government hospital where she is under arrest so she could spend Christmas and the New Year with her family.

“This is in keeping with the spirit of joy, hope, peace, love and goodwill during the Yuletide season...,” said Arroyo’s lawyer in her petition to the Sandiganbayan.

The Sandigandayan has ordered that Arroyo, now a congresswoman for her home province of Pampanga in Central Luzon, be placed under hospital arrest in a government facility in Metro Manila following the filing of a plunder case against her.

Plunder is a non-bailable offence, which also carries the maximum penalty of life imprisonment under tough Philippine laws.

The case arose from Arroyo’s alleged involvement in the illegal diversion of about $8 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, which runs the lucrative lotto patronised by millions of Filipinos.

Arroyo is facing a separate but also non-bailable complaint of electoral sabotage for allegedly participating in massive vote tampering to benefit her senatorial candidates in the May 2007 elections.

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