Arroyo lawyer to gov’t prosecutors: ‘Don’t be vindictive’By Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines—“Do not be vindictive,” the lawyer of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo told government prosecutors who insisted before the Sandiganbayan that the former president now a lawmaker be placed under regular detention facility.
During Thursday’s hearing, government prosecutors led by Diosdado Calonge told the Sandiganbayan First Division that to place Mrs. Arroyo under hospital arrest would be unfair to her other co-accused in the plunder case. Sergio Valencia and PCSO Director for Finance Benigno Aguas are detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center.
“Her dehydration has been corrected and she can now be discharged,” Calonge told the anti-graft court.
“The fact that she is seeking a second term [as representative of Pampanga] is an indication that she is already well,” he added.
But Arroyo’s lawyer, Anacleto Diaz said while Mrs. Arroyo’s dehydration has been cured, she is still required to undergo regular intensive physical therapy three times a week.
He said former President Joseph Estrada who was also accused of plunder has been allowed to be under house arrest.
“There is no need to be vindictive about this. She is once upon a time a President…She is already under arrest,” Diaz said.
Diaz added that seeking a second term should not be taken against Arroyo.
“She has the desire to continue serving her constituents,” he said adding that she will campaign indirectly like Senator Antonio Trillanes who was once under detention for rebellion and Romeo Jalosjos who was convicted of acts of lasciviousness.
The anti-graft court has given both parties the chance to present evidence before issuing a ruling and set the case for hearing on Oct. 18.
With the Sandiganbayan’s deferment in issuing a ruling, Diaz said Mrs. Arroyo will remain at the VMMC.