MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Pasay City Regional Trial Court has granted former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Benjamin Abalos a two-hour furlough to attend a family gathering at his home in Mandaluyong City on Sunday.
Abalos has been jailed at a facility of the Southern Police District on charges of electoral sabotage for more than six months now.
The resolution was issued by Pasay Regional Trial Court Branch 112 Judge Jesus Mupas last Friday.
Abalos was not able to leave his detention room immediately since the court order was still not in the SPD’s hands as of 8:00 a.m.
Pasay court spokesperson Felda Domingo made good on the court’s promise, however, that the written order would be delivered before 11:00 a.m., which was the start of Abalos’ furlough.
It was already past 11:00 a.m. when the former Comelec chief was able to reach his home in Kanlaon Street.
A small program was held by his supporters there.
At around 1:00 p.m., Abalos stood up and asked for permission from his mother to leave.
Abalos told radio dzMM that he could not describe the feeling of being with his family again.
He said he has also been assured that the recent weather disturbances have not affected their Mandaluyong home. The family residence, which was near the creek in Highway Hills, was greatly battered during the onslaught of tropical storm Ondoy.
Abalos finally arrived at the SPD at around 1:30 p.m. – from a report by Dexter Ganibe, dzMM