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GMA may spend Christmas, New Year alone

Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - December 17, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo may spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve by her lonesome as new restrictions bar immediate family members from staying overnight in her detention room at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City.

Arroyo’s chief of staff Raul Lambino said he was surprised by the restrictions imposed by the Philippine National Police (PNP). 

He said Arroyo’s immediate family members were allowed to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve with her in the past.

He said under the new PNP protocol, all visitors could not stay in her hospital suite beyond 9:30 p.m. 

“She (Arroyo) has been looking forward to spending Christmas and New Year with her family,” Lambino said. “Why are they doing this now? Christmas is all about family.”

He said he wrote a letter yesterday to PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima appealing for Arroyo to be allowed to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve with her family at the VMMC.

The new restrictions barred her husband Jose Miguel from making conjugal visits, limited her sun exposure time to one hour a day, and prohibited her from attending mass at the VMMC chapel. Arroyo is only allowed to hear mass inside her hospital suite.

The lawmaker is detained on charges of plunder. The Sandiganbayan has yet to start formal trial on her case. Opposition lawmakers last week warned officials of the Aquino administration of “karma” for the new restrictions.

1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III, who earlier filed a resolution asking the Sandiganbayan to grant Arroyo a furlough this Christmas, said Malacañang should tread carefully in treating the ailing lawmaker.

“They are people too, there’s what we call karma in life,” Bello said.

Bello’s House resolution 537 has obtained more than 70 signatures from administration and opposition lawmakers.

“It is an appeal to the Christian spirit of the honorable members of the Sandiganbayan. Out of humanitarian and compassionate consideration, I hope they will give her time to join her family,” Bello said.

He said the document was not a “legal demand, or a legal claim” for the Sandiganbayan.

 

ARROYO CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR DIRECTOR GENERAL ALAN PURISIMA FORMER PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO JOSE MIGUEL NEW PAMPANGA REP PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE SANDIGANBAYAN
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