MANILA - Former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo on Monday expressed disagreement with the Sandiganbayan's decision to deny the bid for a birthday furlough of his detained wife, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Arroyo is detained on a plunder charge in connection with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office fund misuse. She is under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center due to complications from a botched cervical spine surgery.
Mike Arroyo's spokesman, lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, released this statement for his principal.
“Atty. Jose Miguel Arroyo is pained at the decision of the Sandiganbayan denying the request of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for a birthday furlough, which was done so she may be able to touch base with her constituents, as well as upon doctor’s advice.
“As her husband, Atty. Arroyo is deeply saddened that Mrs. Arroyo will not be able to avail of the therapeutic benefits of interacting with other people, especially the people of Pampanga who have elected her to represent them in Congress, considering the very stringent restrictions now placed upon her in detention, which restrictions apply even to her immediate family.
Topacio said the development will not keep the former leader from marking her 67th birthday.
“As a member of the Philippine Bar, however, while Atty. Arroyo disagrees with the reasons advanced by the Sandiganbayan, he shall respect and abide by the same. The Arroyo Family will simply make the most Mrs. Arroyo’s natal day even as she continues to suffer the hairshirt of unjust imprisonment.
“We look forward to the continuation of the trial of Mrs. Arroyo, hoping that the same will be an impartial forum for her to be able to prove her innocence, unperturbed by the overweening influence that the Aquino Administration tries to bring to bear on all departments of the government through intimidation, threats and other forms of undue and improper pressure.
“Atty. Arroyo wishes to thank all those who offered support and prayers for the granting of her motion, including friends in media and her legal staff led by Atty. Ticman, who never wavered in their belief of her innocence. We are confident that under a less persecutory and inquisitorial government, the Arroyos will get the justice that every citizen of the land deserves as held sacred by the Constitution.”