GMA wants 18-day Christmas retreat in Lubao

Posted at 12/05/2012 7:28 PM | Updated as of 12/06/2012 2:01 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo asked the Sandiganbayan to allow her to spend at most 18 days this Christmas season in Lubao, Pampanga for the sake of goodwill.

Arroyo, who is at the Veterans’ Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) under hospital arrest after the anti-graft court found probable cause against her for the case of plunder, said former President Joseph Estrada was granted the same in the past for a similar offense.

She asked that she be allowed to go home from December 21, 2012 to January 7, 2013.

Arroyo pleaded in the spirit of "peace, love and goodwill during the Yuletide season" and "in the revered tradition of togetherness, oneness and unity of the Filipino family.”

Her lawyers also said the rest of the hospital staff won’t likely be around those dates.

"Specifically, accused GMA has been advised that half of the personnel of the hospital, and likely no therapists, will be reporting for duty at the VMMC starting 20 December 2012 up to and until 6 January 2013," lawyers Christian B. Diaz and Ma. Rosario del Rosario noted.

They also said arrangements have already been made with the Philippine National Police and the Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG) for her security. They said the authorities are “ready and willing.”

Arroyo is also willing to pay for their meals, fuel, communication and other incidental expenses throughout her stay in Lubao.

She said the Sandiganbayan can also impose additional conditions.