Detained former Philippine president Gloria Arroyo allowed to spend Christmas at home

MANILA (Reuters) - A Philippines court ruled on Monday that ailing former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, detained on corruption charges since 2012, can spend Christmas with her family at home, although police guards will be posted at the residence.

Arroyo was barred from leaving the country in October 2011, and has been detained in a military hospital since 2012 on corruption charges over the misuse of charity funds. She wears a neck brace and has lost weight.

The 67-year-old has denied any wrongdoing. Her lawyers argue the cases against her are weak and cannot be proven, but the administration of President Benigno Aquino continues to cite her cases as example of anti-corruptipn drive.

Arroyo's Christmas furlough will begin on Dec 23 and will end on Dec 26, but the court has banned her from using mobile phones and computers at home. She was also barred from giving press interviews and guards will be posted at her side.

The Sandiganbayan court cited mercy and compassion, the theme of Pope Francis' pastoral visit to the Philippines next month, in allowing Arroyo's request.

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