Arroyo camp to contest arrest warrant-A A +A
Saturday, November 19, 2011
MANILA (Updated) -- The camp of arrested former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Arroyo said it would start filing appeals against the arrest warrant when courts reopen Monday.
Ferdinand Topacio, lawyer of Arroyo's husband, Jose Miguel, said he will petition the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday to suspend the arrest warrant and other legal effects of the preliminary investigation jointly conducted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Arroyo's lawyers already filed motions before the SC questioning the legality of the joint investigating committee and the jurisdiction of the court that issued the warrant.
Topacio said the government filed the charges with "indecent haste" and the quickness of the arrest was a "minor miracle" in the Philippine judicial system.
Arroyo is now under police custody after members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) served Friday the warrant of arrest issued by Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 112 Judge Jesus Mupas against her for electoral sabotage in 2007.
House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman advised the Arroyo camp to ask the SC to quash -- or declare as invalid -- the warrant of arrest.
Lagman said the Arroyo camp can argue that the warrant of arrest was issued with haste.
Topacio also said they will be filing next week an urgent motion before the SC for the issuance of another temporary restraining order against the joint Comelec-DOJ panel that investigated the 2007 poll fraud allegations.
Arroyo was ordered arrested after the Comelec filed electoral sabotage charges against her. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.
It capped a day of legal drama in which the SC upheld her right to travel but a lower court later accepted the formal charges against her. The government rushed the case in court, saying Arroyo may be trying to evade justice.
Authorities took Arroyo's mugshots, fingerprints, and handprints on Saturday afternoon, inside her room at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City.
The mugshots were taken while she was sitting on her bed in a reclined position. Arroyo's nameplate were held up by the technician while she was being photographed because Arroyo was "not capacitated" to hold the plate herself, Philippine National Police (PNP) Senior Superintendent Joel Coronel, who facilitated the procedure, said.
She was wearing her neck brace and a standard hospital gown while friends and relatives witnessed the technician taking the mugshots.
The mugshots, which was still in digital form while the press conference was held, will be submitted to the Pasay City RTC on Monday. It will be up to the court to release the pictures or not, Coronel said.
"We submit to the sound discretion of judgment in the court to this matter. We will present it to the court with the information that the accused, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is under arrest,” Coronel said.
Topacio earlier said their camp already asked the police to withhold the release of the former President's mugshots.
"Let's treat the former president with the respect due her,” the lawyer said in an earlier briefing. "Let's not further humiliate her considering na may sakit siya."
However, Coronel said authorities have yet to receive the request from the Arroyo camp. He nevertheless said the police will launch an investigation should the mugshots be leaked and/or are released before these are submitted to the court.
Arroyo's fingerprints, handprints, and mugshots will then be submitted to the sala of Judge Mupas.
Meanwhile, Arroyo’s doctor Juliet Gopez-Cervantez, said the lawmaker will have to stay at the hospital because of her current health conditions.
"She should stay probably for a few more days or a week," Gopez-Cervantez said, adding that the lawmaker has not completely recovered from the surgeries.
Some risks may be incurred if Arroyo decides to travel since the bone on her neck still has to regain its original strength, Gopez-Cervantez added.
Arroyo's attending physician also clarified that the former chief executive is "not in a life-or-death situation."
"Objectively speaking, she is not in that condition, however we don’t know what’s in store for her," she said. "As of now there are some risks but not that high. She can travel on an airplane but there are some risk and limitation."
When asked how soon can Arroyo recover and leave the hospital, Cervantes replied: “We will see.”
Arroyo had been confined at the St. Luke’s Medical Center since Tuesday after she and her husband tried but failed to leave the country. (Sunnex)