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Aquino can’t grant Christmas furlough

Manila, Philippines – Malacañang said yesterday that President Aquino cannot grant Christmas furlough to former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria M. Arroyo.

Arroyo lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said that Aquino can grant Christmas furlough to Arroyo, just like what she did to former President now Manila Mayor Joseph E. Estrada when he was still in detention for plunder charges.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said only the court can grant Christmas furlough to Mrs. Arroyo.

“Mukhang may disagreement tayo on that point with Atty. Topacio kasi nasa ilalim ng jurisdiction ng korte si dating Pangulong GMA,” Valte said. “Yung detention niya is by virtue of the power of the court so ‘di tayo nakikialam.”

Valte said the Executive branch lets the court decide if the Arroyo camp files a motion. “Kung ano yung magiging decision ng korte, hinahayaan na natin yan sa korte because she is under the court’s jurisdiction,” Valte said.

The Palace official said she is unaware of any plans of Aquino to visit former Mrs. Arroyo during the holidays.

Estrada will visit Arroyo, detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City for plunder charges, to air his holiday greetings to her before December 25.

Some members of the House of Representatives have signed a resolution supporting a Yuletide furlough for Mrs. Arroyo. (Madel S. Namit)