SC affirms electoral sabotage case vs Arroyo

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Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—With a vote of 13-2, the Supreme Court affirmed Tuesday the findings of the Department of Justice-Commission on Elections (DOJ-Comelec) that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo be prosecuted for electoral sabotage.

The 13 justices are Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Presbitero Velasco, Lucas Bersamin, Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Bienvenido Reyes, Jose Catral Mendoza, Estela Perlas Bernabe, Jose Perez, Mariano Del Castillo, Marvic Leonen and Martin Villarama.

The two dissenting justices are Associate Justice Arturo Brion and Roberto Abad.

The high court, in its ruling, said Mrs. Arroyo who is now a Pampanga lawmaker already pleaded not guilty to the case that is currently pending with the Pasay City Regional Trial Court.

“The Court took judicial notice that Arroyo not only entered a plea of not guilty, she also filed a motion for bail, which was granted. She benefitted from the RTC order; she has in fact chosen to seek judicial remedy before the RTC where the electoral sabotage case is pending instead of the executive remedy of going back to the Joint Committee for the submission of her counter-affidavit and countervailing evidence,” High Court said.

The high court added that the conduct of preliminary investigation against Arroyo was proper because it was done in accordance with the Rules on Criminal Procedure.

“There was no denial of Arroyo’s right to due process when her right to inspect documents was denied; the documents she requested were not submitted to the Joint Committee and therefore could not be provided her,” the high court said.

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