Arroyo birthday furlough denied

Posted at 03/14/14 5:16 PM

MANILA (UPDATED) - The Sandiganbayan First Division has denied the petition of detained former President and now Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for a three-day birthday furlough.

The decision was signed by Presiding Judge Efren dela Cruz, and Justices Rodolfo Ponferrada and Rafael Lagos.

Arroyo, who is turning 67 on April 5, asked the anti-graft court that she be allowed to celebrate her birthday in her hometown in Lubao, Pampanga from April 4 to 6.

In her petition, Arroyo offered to pay the expenses for her furlough, including food, fuel and extra costs by her escorts.

According to the Sandiganbayan, Arroyo is not prohibited from celebrating her birthday and bonding with her family inside her detention facility.

It added that as a "detention prisoner," Arroyo should not be treated differently from all other prisoners who may also be suffering from depression like her.

To give the president special treatment is a violation of the "equal protection clause of the Constitution," the Sandiganbayan said.

Arroyo is under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City for a plunder case in connection with the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds. -- Report from Atom Araullo, ABS-CBN News