SC to take up Arroyo bail plea
CHIEF Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno has asked the Sandiganbayan to forward the complete records of the plunder case filed against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo over her alleged misuse of P366 million in the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office intelligence funds during her term.
The high court, which resumes its en banc session today, is expected to tackle Arroyo’s case, in particular her plea to be placed under house arrest.
“May we request that the complete records of the case be forwarded to this court immediately upon receipt hereof,” said the letter of lawyer Basilia Ringol, deputy clerk of court and chief judicial records officer, dated May 25.
The letter was received by lawyer Renato Bocar, Sandiganbayan executive clerk of court, on May 27. Ringol wrote the letter following a request by Rolando Gabriel of the Office of the Chief Justice.
In December last year, Arroyo, through her lawyers, filed an urgent motion for house arrest pending the resolution of her petitions with the Supreme Court for the review of the Sandiganbayan’s denials of her plea to post bail and demurrer of evidence.
Early this month, Arroyo filed another pleading asking the high court to resolve her motion after the Office of the Solicitor General failed to submit its comment on her request to be detained at her house in La Vista Subdivision in Quezon City.
Arroyo, now a representative from Pampanga, has been under “hospital arrest” at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in QC since 2012 due to a spine disease.
Her camp is confident she would resume her duties as a reelected Pampanga representative in the next Congress under a more friendly administration.
Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez is confident that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte would support Arroyo’s appeal for bail.
“I’m sure she would take a more active role in the next Congress. We expect her to be present at President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address on July 25,” said Suarez.
Suarez said Duterte himself had declared that Arroyo deserved to be allowed bail.
“All of those charged [with her] in connection with the sweepstakes expenditure on the intelligence fund are already free. It’s only Arroyo who remains under arrest,” Duterte had said. Jerome Aning and Gil Cabacungan