If JPE’s out on bail, CGMA can be under house arrest, lawyers petition Sandigan
If there is a chance that she can be granted bail like plunder accused Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile due to their similar situations, then former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should be granted house arrest.
This was one of the points raised by her lawyers in their reply to the prosecution’s latest opposition to her request for house arrest that was filed before the Sandiganbayan First Division.
Citing the Supreme Court’s August 18 landmark resolution that granted Enrile bail, her lawyers pointed out that the high court declared that: “Bail for the provisional liberty of the accused, regardless of the crime charged, should be allowed independently of the merits of the charge, provided his continued incarceration is clearly shown to be injurious to his health or to endanger his life.”
“If bail may be granted on grounds of un likelyhood of flight and/or poor health, then it stands to reason that President Arroyo’s present custodial arrangement may be modified to transfer the place of her detention from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center to her residence in Quezon City or Lubao, Pampanga,” said her counsel who noted that Arroyo and Senator Enrile are similarly situated.
The lawyers explained that the difference is that Arroyo is not asking for bail (which means release from detention), but simply that her current custodial arrangement be modified (which means that she will still be detained, albeit in her residence).”
The lawyers also allayed fears of the prosecution that the houses of Arroyo in La Vista Village, Quezon City, and Lubao, Pampanga are security nightmares for having too many occupants.
Recalling that the Sandiganbayan had granted former President Joseph Estrada house arrest at his 15-hectare property in Tanay, Rizal, her lawyers noted that “President Arroyo’s residences are easier to secure than President Estrada’s sprawling Tanay estate.”
The lawyers said, only Mrs. Arroyo’s husband Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo and two household staff only stays in the La Vista house, while 12 other persons stay within the grounds but outside the house, including eight members of the Presidential Security Group.
“Therefore, the ‘security nightmare’ that the prosecution has conjured has no basis in reality,” stressed her counsel.