Sandiganbayan OKs Gloria Arroyo’s trip to Europe, HK

Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, now a sitting lawmaker in the lower house of Congress, is flanked by husband Jose Miguel Arroyo (L) and her son Congressman Juan Miguel Arroyo inside  the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court in Quezon City, Metro Manila, April 11, 2012. Arroyo  entered a plead of not guilty before an anti-corruption court for her role in an aborted $329 million broadband deal with China's ZTE Corp in 2007 after a congressional inquiry in 2008 showed she allegedly did not stop her allies from collecting huge pay offs for the deal. Arroyo's husband, a former communications minister and the former head of the country's elections agency are facing similar corruption charges. REUTERS/Renz Joshua Posedio/ Philippine National Police-Public Information Office/Handout   (PHILIPPINES  - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, now a sitting lawmaker in the lower house of Congress, is flanked by husband Jose Miguel Arroyo (L) and her son Congressman Juan Miguel Arroyo inside the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court in Quezon City, Metro Manila, April 11, 2012. Arroyo entered a plead of not guilty before an anti-corruption court for her role in an aborted $329 million broadband deal with China’s ZTE Corp in 2007 after a congressional inquiry in 2008 showed she allegedly did not stop her allies from collecting huge pay offs for the deal. Arroyo’s husband, a former communications minister and the former head of the country’s elections agency are facing similar corruption charges. REUTERS/Renz Joshua Posedio/ Philippine National Police-Public Information Office/Handout (PHILIPPINES – Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

MANILA, Aug 17 (Mabuhay) – After spending four years in detention, former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo can leave the country for Europe and Hong Kong.

In three resolutions adopted during court proceedings Monday, the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division allowed Arroyo and her husband, former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, to travel to Germany and France from September 19 to October 3, and to Hong Kong from October 29 to November 4.

The Sandiganbayan has ordered the former President to post a P300,000 travel bond to guarantee her “faithful compliance” with the terms and conditions set for her trips. Mr. Arroyo’s travel bond, meanwhile, is set at P90,000.

The Arroyo couple’s travel itinerary is limited to Munich, Germany; Paris, France and Hong Kong.

The former President asked the Sandiganbayan’s permission to leave the country earlier this month so she could consult with doctors and take a vacation in Europe.

Her trip to Hong Kong, meanwhile, is for a family reunion.

Arroyo is facing charges of graft and breach of code of conduct before the Fourth Division in connection with the botched $329-million national broadband deal involving the Philippine government and Chinese company Zhing Xing Telecommunications Equipment Inc. (ZTE).

Her husband is also facing graft charges before the Fourth Division and Seventh Division in connection with the national broadband deal and the alleged anomalous purchase of overpriced helicopters by the Philippine National Police in 2009, respectively.

It would be the former President’s first time to travel abroad following her release from hospital detention at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center last July.

She was detained in 2012 in connection with the plunder case filed against her over the alleged misuse of P366-million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

In addition to posting a travel bond, the Arroyos were required to present themselves to the Division Clerk of Court within five days after their return from France and Hong Kong and present their passports and photocopies thereof indicating the stamps of departure from and entry into the Philippines. (MNS)

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