Arroyo asks SC to reverse Sandigan rulings denying her bail bid
Former President, now Pampanga Representative, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Friday asked the Supreme Court to reverse two Sandiganbayan decisions and allow her to post bail.
Arroyo made the plea in a 37-page petition for certiorari she filed through counsel Jose Flaminiano seeking to reverse the Sandiganbayan ruling issued in October 2014 and in February 2015 denying her petition for bail.
Flaminiano said the high court itself ruled that detainees are entitled to bail “if their continuous confinement during the pendency of their case would be injurious to their health or endanger their life.”
Mrs. Arroyo is currently detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) because she is suffering from cervical spondylosis, a degenerative disease of the bones and cartilage of the neck.
Dr. Antonio Sison, a spine surgeon at VMMC, testified that it is not healthy to keep a patient in continued confinement in a medical facility for over a year because it is not conducive and may slow down the healing process.
Sison’s opinion was echoed by Dr. Ernesto Palanca who described the former President as a “suffering sick lady.
Dr. Martha Nucum, Assistant Chief Medical Professional staff of VMMC, and Dr. Celestino Dalisay also issued medical certificates saying Mrs. Arroyo’s rehabilitation does not show significant improvement.
Clinical Psychologist Dr. Arnulfo Lopez said Mrs. Arroyo’s treatment should include a holistic approach, meaning with family support, emotional stability and spiritual upliftment “which cannot be attained while being confined in a hospital.”
Flaminiano pointed out that in the case of De La Rama, the high court ruled that hospital arrest “fell short of meeting or accomplishing the humanitarian purpose or reason underlying the doctrine adopted by modern trend of courts’ decisions which permit bail to prisoners, irrespective of the nature and merits of the charge against them, if their continuous confinement during the pendency of their case would be injurious to their health or endanger their life.”
“Petitioner President Arroyo is not asking that she be restored to the pink of health. She is only asking that she be granted provisional liberty in order that she may sufficiently recover from her illnesses and to prevent her health condition from deteriorating,” Flaminiano said.
Flaminiano added that the antigraft court abused its discretion when it ruled that “having found evidence against President Arroyo to be strong, it has lost all discretion to grant her bail – never mind that detention is impairing her health; never mind that she is not a flight risk; never mind that the law still presumes her innocent.”
“If the sole reason for President Arroyo’s continued detention is that the evidence against her is strong even if she is concededly and demonstrably not a flight risk and despite her poor health, then her continued detention assumes the form of a punishment,” Flaminiano said.
She is facing a case for plunder in connection with the alleged misuse of P366-million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) from 2008 to 2010. AU
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