Pasay judge to hear Arroyo petition for bail
Should former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo be allowed to post bail?
The Pasay City Regional Trial Court has scheduled a series of hearings regarding Arroyo’s request to post bail for her temporary liberty while the electoral sabotage case the Commission on Election (Comelec) filed against her was being heard.
Arroyo, now Pampanga’s representative in Congress, has been under hospital detention since she was arrested in November last year. The former president suffers from a degenerative bone disorder.
Judge Jesus Mupas of RTC Branch 112 set the hearing dates on March 8, 15, and 22 after defense lawyers on Friday made the plea in court, according to court spokesperson Felda Domingo.
Arroyo’s counsels Benjamin Santos and Ray Montri Santos are expected to present their evidence.
In their plea, Arroyo’s lawyers argued that an accused was entitled to seek bail in any case, regardless of whether or not the charge was “nonbailable,” like the crime of electoral sabotage.
The lawyers insisted that the case against the former president and now Pampanga representative was “weak” since it merely relied on a single statement of a witness.
“There is no case against her,” said Arroyo’s husband, Jose Miguel, himself a lawyer.
The Comelec prosecutors have until March 12 to comment on the defense’s petition.
Arroyo, 64, pleaded not guilty to allegations she ordered the rigging of the senatorial election results in Maguindanao in 2007. A witness had alleged that she told two officials to ensure a “12-0” result in favor of her senatorial ticket, during a dinner in Malacañang that year, a witness claimed.
Her coaccused, former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., and election supervisor Lintang Bedol are scheduled to be arraigned on March 19.
Ampatuan is also detained and facing separate charges of masterminding the massacre of at least 57 civilians in Maguindanao in 2009, Mupas scheduled Arroyo’s pretrial on April 19.
Meanwhile, former Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr., asked the Pasay RTC Branch 117 to cite election prosecutors for contempt after his coaccused was admitted to the witness protection program in a separate electoral sabotage case the commission filed against him.
Abalos, through his counsel, argued that Comelec prosecutors ought to be cited for contempt because his coaccused, Lilia Radam, a former provincial election supervisor, was placed under the protection of the Department of Justice.
Clerk of court Luithe Cabangunay said Branch 117 Judge Eugenio dela Cruz may schedule a hearing on Abalos’ petition anytime next week along with his other pleadings.
Abalos and Radam were charged with electoral sabotage for supposed irregularities in the results of the senatorial elections in South Cotabato.
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