Court intervention in Arroyo bookkeeper's detention 'unlikely'

MANILA -- The former bookkeeper of the Arroyos whom the Senate has detained for contempt, can petition the Supreme Court to have her sent home but one senator who signed her arrest order said the court might stay away from the issue.

The lawyer of Rowena del Rosario, former LTA Inc. bookkeeper, will reportedly petition the Supreme Court (SC) to order the Senate to bring the former employee of Negros Occidental Representative Ignacio Arroyo before the court.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV told reporters Tuesday that del Rosario's camp can do that but "whether the court will reverse the Senate order is a different matter."

"I really doubt that the SC will intervene in the affairs of the Senate," he said.

Trillanes and 11 other senators cited del Rosario for contempt Monday after she failed to satisfy them with her answers at a hearing on an anomalous purchase of second-hand helicopters believed to be owned by Jose Miguel Arroyo, the former President's husband.

Del Rosario used to handle the accounts for LTA Inc., which Arroyo now heads. Del Rosario told senators that she reports to Representative Ignacio Arroyo when she worked at the company from 2001 to 2010. Representative Arroyo was president of LTA Inc. at the time.

Trillanes said the accountant was being punished for "outright lying" while under oath. The Senate blue ribbon committee found inconsistencies in her testimony, which she gave to support the Arroyos' statements that they only leased but did not own the helicopters.

"My advice to her is to just tell the truth," Trillanes said.

Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Rueda-Acosta, who was at the Senate Tuesday for budget deliberations, said the detention order was within the Senate's powers. She said the Senate has certain powers and that everybody is enjoined to respect them.

"The Senate would look silly if it cannot enforce those powers," she said. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)

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