Sandiganbayan junks Arroyo bail petition

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Thursday, February 20, 2014


THE Sandiganbayan on Thursday denied the bail petition of Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the plunder case she is facing in connection with her alleged involvement in the malversation of the P366-million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds.

The second motion for bail of the former President was junked by the Sandiganbayan First Division for lack of sufficient merit.

Arroyo's lawyers Jose Flaminiano, Laurence Hector Arroyo and Aufelene Anne Laxamana claimed that the former leader's health is suffering and that she is growing depressed in detention but the court stated in its ruling that it is not enough to grant her requested petition.

"[Arroyo] cannot be treated differently from other detainees, who could [also] argue that their continues confinement will result [in] severe depression causing them to succumb to different types of serious illnesses," the court said.

"Depression is common to all detainees, whether he or she be a former president or not. To treat accused [Gloria Arroyo] differently might be violative if the equal protection clause of the constitution. The supplemental motion must therefore be denied," the court noted.

The Pampanga lawmaker is currently under hospital-arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City.

Arroyo's spokesperson Raul Lambino earlier said the former chief executive is still hopeful that her bail petition will be granted and their other motion for a house arrest may just "clutter the situation."

Arroyo's fellow accused were former PCSO chairman Manoling Morato, former PCSO vice chair and general manager Rosario Uriarte, former board chairman Sergio Valencia, former assistant general manager for finance Benigno Aguas and former board member Raymundo Roquero.

Like Arroyo, Morato is also currently under hospital arrest as he is suffering from hypertension.

Uriarte and Valencia have already turned themselves in to authorities last October last year, while Roquero surrendered recently last January.

The plunder case was filed before the Office of the Ombudsman in July 2011 by some of the former President's critic led Jaime Regalario, former Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel and former Bureau of Customs deputy commissioner for intelligence Danilo Lim. (Sunnex)

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