Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo arrives with husband, Jose Miguel, at the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court in Quezon City, Metro Manila, April 11, 2012. Arroyo entered a plead of not guilty to allegations of graft and corruption in the tainted telecommunications deal with China in 2007. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo (PHILIPPINES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)

Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo arrives with husband, Jose Miguel, at the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court in Quezon City, Metro Manila, April 11, 2012. Arroyo entered a plead of not guilty to allegations of graft and corruption in the tainted telecommunications deal with China in 2007. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo (PHILIPPINES – Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)

MANILA, Dec 23 (Mabuhay) – Former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is now at her home in La Vista, Quezon City after the anti-graft court partially granted her Christmas furlough.

Arroyo began her furlough Tuesday morning, departing Veterans Memorial Medical Center with her heavily guarded convoy.

The court partially granted Arroyo’s request for a holiday furlough from December 23 to 26 in line with Pope Francis’ message of “mercy and compassion.” Arroyo had asked for a break from December 23 to January 3, 2015.

In a statement released by lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, Arroyo’s husband Mike Arroyo said the homecoming would be a time for healing for their family.

‎”The court’s decision is wholly consistent with justice. We must emphasize, if only to put things in context, that former President Arroyo continues to enjoy the presumption of innocence as there is no judgment to date finding her guilty of any crime. This will be a time for healing and prayer and thanksgiving and hope for the former President and her family,” he said.

The former first gentleman again thanked the Sandiganbayan for the furlough.

“‎We are grateful to the court for showing compassion and partially granting furlough on humanitarian grounds. The court’s decision is wholly consistent with justice. We are grateful to the court for showing compassion and partially granting furlough on humanitarian grounds,” he said.

It was the first time Arroyo was granted a Christmas furlough since she was detained at the VMMC in October 2012 for plunder in connection with the alleged misuse of P300 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds.

Part of the anti-graft court’s resolution read that Pope Francis is the personification of mercy and compassion, which is why the court has allowed Arroyo to spend Christmas in her La Vista home in Quezon City.

The resolution includes the usual conditions on the use of phones, gadgets and Internet. The expenses of the police and escorts shall be shouldered by Arroyo, the court said.

She will not be allowed to go anywhere else except in her house in La Vista.

Arroyo was detained at the VMMC due to complications from a cervical spine surgery.

Her condition has caused her to lose weight significantly. She also suffered from several choking incidents.

In November, Arroyo lost her grandson and the son of her only daughter, Luli, due to a congenital heart problem.(MNS)