Manila Bulletin

If JPE’s out on bail, CGMA can be un­der house ar­rest, lawyers pe­ti­tion Sandi­gan

- By JEFFREY G. DAMICOG Crime · Politics · Pampanga · Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo · Gloria · Football League First Division · U.S. Supreme Court · Veterans Memorial Medical Center · Quezon City · Joseph Estrada · Juan Ponce Enrile · Lubao · Tanay

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.

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