|Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo|
Instead, Judge Jesus Mupas of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 112 allowed Mrs. Arroyo's "immediate family" to visit her at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) from December 24 to 12 noon on December 26, and on December 31 to 12 noon on January 2.
Mrs. Arroyo has been under hospital arrest since being arrested on charges of electoral sabotage in connection with alleged cheating in the 2007 elections.
The court also allowed her access to Television and Radio, but she's still not permitted to use Cellphones, Laptops, telephone, and other means of communication.
"For security reasons, hindi pumayag ang korte sa motion nila for a Christmas furlough. Naalala niyo naman nung linipat siya from St. Luke's to VMMC nagkagulo, so ayaw na nating maulit yon [the court did not allow their motion for a Christmas furlough. If you remember, when she was transferred from St. Luke's to VMMC, there was a commotion and we don't want that to happen again]," said court legal researcher Felda Domingo.
In the same decision, the court allowed Mrs. Arroyo one hour of sunlight everyday in the morning, to get some fresh air and to visit the VMMC chapel.
Her request for a television and radio in her hospital room was also granted by the court.
However, Judge Mupas denied Arroyo's motion for the use of a cellphone and laptop. Domingo said this is a "closed issue," and only the former president's counsel will be allowed to bring electronic communication gadgets inside Mrs. Arroyo's suite at the VMMC.
A Malacañang spokesperson, meanwhile, said the court's decision is fair.
"We have always maintained that there should be no special treatment accorded to CGMA and that arrangements should be made with due respect to her condition," Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.
It is also worth noting that a few days ago, it was reported that Judge Mupas rejected a Christmas gift allegedly from the Topacio Law Office. Atty. Topacio is one of Gloria Arroyo's lawyers.
The small box was delivered by a lady to the guest room of Mupas on Monday afternoon.
Staff of the judge politely told the messenger to return the gift to its sender.