Arroyo advised by doctors not to attend arraignment at SandiganBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines — Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was advised by doctors not to attend her arraignment at the Sandiganbayan on Monday.
Arroyo is facing charges of plunder in connection with the alleged misuse of P366 million worth of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s intelligence funds.
Set to be arraigned with the Pampanga lawmaker at the Sandiganbayan First Division are former PCSO chairman Sergio Valencia and PCSO assistant manager for finance Benigno Aguas who have placed themselves under police custody. Valencia and Aguas were brought to the anti-graft court both in handcuffs by authorities.
However, in a text message, Veterans Memorial Medical Center director Nona Legaspi said that their cardiologist informed doctors from the Philippine National Police “it would be risky for her (Arroyo) to attend without having the stress echo test.”
“She should seek for a permission to have that exam first in heart center or any hospital that has that,” she said.
Arroyo has since been detained at the VMMC where her arrest warrant was served. This was after the Sandiganbayan First Division denied her motion for reconsideration which questioned the basis for the issuance of the arrest warrants.
She was transferred to the ICU during the weekend due to blocked arteries.
The anti-graft court last week issued arrest warrants on charges of plunder for Arroyo, Valencia, Aguas, former PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte; PCSO directors Manuel Morato, Raymundo Roquero, Jose Taruc V and Maria Fatima Valdes; former Commission on Audit (COA) chairman Reynaldo Villar and COA Region V head Nilda Paras.
Shortly after information on the issuance of arrest warrants was released, the Bureau of Immigration confirmed that one of the accused, Taruc, was able to flee the country.
Plunder is a non-bailable offense but the Arroyo camp insists that it will file a bail petition.
The former President’s lawyers also filed a motion with the Sandiganbayan last week, asking for the arraignment to be reset.