An ally of President Benigno Aquino 3rd in the House of Representatives is in favor of relaxing the visiting hours for former President Gloria Arroyo so she can spend Christmas and New Year holidays with her family.
Rep. Niel Tupas, Jr. of Iloilo, Chairman of the House Committee on Justice, made the stance in connection with the motion lodged by Mrs. Arroyo’s camp which asked the Sandiganbayan to relax the visiting hours for the ex-Chief Executive which is only pegged until 9:30 pm.
In addition, Mrs. Arroyo’s husband Jose Miguel is not allowed to stay with her overnight.
“It is the discretion of the court, but as a matter of tradition, we Filipinos spend Christmas with our families. I don’t see any hurdle with that, especially if it is made in the spirit of Christmas,” Tupas, a lawyer, told reporters.
Mrs. Arroyo is under hospital detention at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City for a pending P366 million plunder charge slapped against her in connection with alleged unlawful conversion of state charity funds to intelligence funds.
“Considering compassion and the Christmas season, I would think it would be okay for her to be with her family. As a former President, she also deserves some sort of courtesy,” Tupas added.
Rep. Silvestre Bello 3rd of 1-BAP party-list filed a House Resolution appealing for a Christmas furlough for the former President. Bello’s Resolution attracted at least 70 signatories, but it has been rendered moot and academic following Congresswoman Arroyo’s motion asking the court to allow her family to stay with her in the hospital during Christmas and New Year days.
Of the 70, at least 12 lawmakers belong to the ruling Liberal Party (LP) chaired by President Aquino.
Tupas, a member of the LP, disclosed that Bello’s resolution was referred to the House Justice panel, but his Committee has failed to raise enough attendance to adopt Congressman Bello’s Resolution.