Arroyo asks court for early resolution to bail bid on electoral sabotage raps
MANILA, Philippines – Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo asked the Pasay City regional trial court for an early resolution on her bid to post bail on charges of electoral sabotage, her spokesman on legal matters said Friday.
“Based on the presentation of evidence on her petition for bail these past five months, the prosecution failed to prove anything. That’s why we moved for an earlier resolution of her petition for bail,” lawyer Raul Lambino said.
Nori Unas, who used to be a close aide of former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., claimed to have overheard Arroyo order his former boss during a Lakas party meeting in Malacañang to ensure a 12-0 victory for Team Unity senatorial candidates in Maguindanao two weeks prior to the May 2007 elections.
During his direct examination in the bail hearings, Unas said he was afraid that he would be charged with poll cheating as his name was being prominently mentioned by Lintang Bedol and two other election officers.
But lawyer Sigfried Fortun, counsel for Ampatuan, was able to elicit an admission from Unas that he wanted to escape prosecution from several cases filed against him, including his involvement in the Maguindanao massacre.
Lambino also pointed out that Unas indicated as a condition to his executing an affidavit on Oct. 3, 2011 that he be given immunity from criminal prosecution and be admitted to the Witness Protection Program (WPP).
He said the former President, now Pampanga lawmaker, has no intention of escaping from the criminal charges filed against her.
“Even if she will be allowed to seek medical treatment abroad, she will return here [Philippines]. She has no plan of escaping, she will face these cases head on because it’s not only her name but her father’s as well that is at stake here,” he said.
Arroyo is currently under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center. The former President has been operated on for problems with her spine. She also contracted shingles. But following reports that she is well, the government is pushing that she be moved to a regular jail.
“These allies of President Aquino or the palace itself are after issues which they think will help push up trust ratings. That is what they’re doing even if they know it isn’t right,” Lambino said in Filipino.
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