Gloria Arroyo cites Enrile verdict in petition for house arrest
What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
Invoking the contentious Supreme Court decision which granted Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s bail plea last month, lawyers of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday reiterated that she should be placed under house arrest.
In an eight-page reply to the prosecution’s opposition, Arroyo’s counsels told the Sandiganbayan First Division that Enrile and the former president are “similarly situated” as both are already sickly and are not considered flight risk.
The defense also cited the case of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, whose request to be held at his sprawling rest house in Tanay, Rizal, was granted by the antigraft court while he was being tried for plunder.
Arroyo, 68, had been in hospital detention at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City since October 2012 after she was indicted for plunder over the purported misuse of P366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
“If bail may be granted on grounds of unlikelihood of flight and/or poor health, then it stands to reason that [Arroyo’s] present custodial arrangement may be modified to transfer the place of her detention from the [VMMC] to her residence in Quezon City or Lubao, Pampanga,” Arroyo’s lawyers argued.
“[Arroyo] and Senator Enrile are similarly situated,” the petition read. “Like Senator Enrile, [she] is also of fragile health and is a nonflight risk.”
Enrile, who is facing plunder and graft charges over the P10-billion pork barrel racket, was purportedly known as “Tanda” (old) in the records of the scam’s alleged mastermind, Janet Lim-Napoles.
The 91-year-old senator was able to secure his provisional liberty on Aug. 18 after eight justices of the high tribunal voted to approve his bail petition on humanitarian grounds.
Arroyo’s lawyers told the court that government doctors had certified that she had yet to “fully recover” from a debilitating age-related bone ailment and that she underwent three major spinal surgeries.
They said the government prosecutors’ claim that Arroyo’s petition for house arrest had no legal basis was “without merit.”
“But unlike Senator Enrile, [Arroyo] is not asking for bail … but simply that her current custodial arrangement be modified,” they said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.