The camp of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo wants the Pasay City Regional Trial Court to withdraw the warrant of arrest it had issued against her.
One of Arroyo’s spokesperson, lawyer Raul Lambino, said they filed a motion on Monday seeking the withdrawal of the warrant issued by Judge Jesus Mupas of Pasay RTC Branch 112.
Lambino said Mupas should not have issued an arrest warrant since he took only three hours to sift through the criminal information.
“That’s why judges are given at least 10 days to determine probable cause,” he said.
“We want the warrant withdrawn because it was railroaded and he could not (Mupas) have read and studied all the information that was presented to him by the prosecution in merely three hours,” said Lambino in an interview with reporters by the gate of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.
Arroyo, charged with electoral sabotage, was moved to the VMMC last Friday from St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City on orders of the court.
The lawyer also said the Arroyo camp would again file a manifestation before the court for house arrest and a holiday furlough for the former president.
“Hindi naman siya tatakas (She will not escape),” he said.
Lambino also continued to slam the Aquino administration for its “dictatorial ways” and “inhumane treatment” of Arroyo, who is now the representative of the second district of Pampanga.
Shorter visiting hours
He said that apart from being barred from using cell phones, radios and the Internet, Arroyo’s visiting hours had also been curtailed.
“For nonfamily members, visiting hours are from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., with no visitors allowed on Monday and Tuesday,” he said.
He said they were told the no-visitor days were “VMMC maintenance days.”
He said that unlike other detainees who are allowed to get some sun for at least an hour a day, Arroyo “is not even allowed to peek outside the door.”
Asked how Arroyo was, Lambino described her mood as being “more energetic last Saturday.”
He said the former president was kept company by a nurse at night and she did her therapy every day.
Security also continued to be tight around the hospital complex.
The bomb squad and at least 15 policemen at a time patrolled the hospital grounds and manned the main gate.
Reporters camped out by VMMC Gate 1 are still barred from entering the compound.
Cops ready for order
But should the court grant her request to spend Christmas at home, the Philippine National Police (PNP) would maintain its close watch over the former president.
“If the court gives (Arroyo) a chance to spend Christmas at home, we have a corresponding security arrangement for that,” said PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome.
Speaking to the press at the launch of the e-blotter system at the Calabarzon police headquarters at Camp Vicente Lim in Laguna on Tuesday, Bartolome said: “Whatever the court’s decision will be, whether she will be transferred or moved, the PNP will just provide the necessary assistance.”
On Sunday, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said a Christmas furlough for Arroyo would be up to the Pasay court.
Bartolome said that so far the police had not encountered any problems with regard to Arroyo’s security.
“She’s just asking for some time to be exposed to the (morning) sunlight. That is, anyway, a right of every detainee even in other detention facilities and her doctors said it had something to do with her medical condition (so) the PNP will grant that (request),” Bartolome said.
Best with family
Saying that Christmas is best spent with one’s family, two Catholic prelates on Tuesday urged the authorities to allow Arroyo to spend the holidays in her home at La Vista, Quezon City.
Pampanga Archbishop Paciano Aniceto noted that when former President Joseph Estrada was in jail, he was let out to visit his mother on her birthday.
“But of course that is up to our government… we cannot preempt it but in our culture it is good to have a reunion with the family during Christmas,” Aniceto said. With reports from Philip C. Tubeza and Maricar Cinco, Inquirer Southern Luzon