Saying they have been deprived of congressional representation, four Pampanga residents have sought to intervene in the petition of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the Supreme Court to stop the Sandiganbayan from proceeding with the plunder case against her involving the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) contingency funds.
The petitioners also sought the release of the Arroyo from detention at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City where she was brought back last month after being charged of plunder, this time in the Office of the Ombudsman.
In a Dec. 20 petition for intervention, Rico Manulid Ocampo, Eugene Paul Ponio, Marcelo Rivera Valencia and Joaquin Mañalac identified themselves as residents of the second district of Pampanga where Arroyo is currently a representative. They claimed to have voted for her in the last election.
The petitioners from Guagua, Pampanga, said Arroyo had “not fully devoted her time serving her district” since she was first charged for electoral sabotage in November 2011. After being granted bail, she was back in detention for the plunder case filed against her in relation to the alleged misuse of PCSO funds.
Deprived of rep’s service
“Due to the nonbailable cases against her…the intervenors are begging the indulgence of the honorable court to allow them to intervene in the instant case because they have been deprived of being served by their incumbent representative in the House of Representatives,” they said.
The petitioners also said they believe the charges against her were “politically motivated” and she had been denied due process.
In their petition, the four men asked the high court to “immediately issue a temporary restraining order and/or a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the respondent Ombudsman from prosecuting the case, and the respondent Sandiganbayan from proceeding with the case and from continuing with the arrest and detention of Arroyo.”
While the TRO is in effect, they asked the high court to issue an order releasing Arroyo from arrest and detention “for humanitarian considerations due to her medical condition and stature as former President of the Philippines.”
They also sought the court to eventually annul and set aside the Ombudsman’s findings of probable cause to charge Arroyo with plunder and to order the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the case against her.
The high court is currently on a Christmas break.
Only last week, the Sandiganbayan had denied Arroyo’s request for a Christmas furlough. She had wanted to spend the Yuletide in her home in Lubao, Pampanga, from Dec. 21 to Jan. 7.