MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – The doctors of Pampanga Rep Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be summoned by the Sandiganbayan next week to “substantiate” her request for hospital arrest in connection with a plunder case.
At the same time, Arroyo’s lead counsel Anacleto Diaz asked the court to reset or cancel her scheduled arraignment on Monday, October 15. The court ordered him to submit the request in writing.
The former President’s doctors at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) will be summoned to testify before the court’s First Division at 1:30 pm on Thursday, October 18, to justify the said request.
The ruling was issued by Justice Efren dela Cruz, chair of the First Division, during a hearing on Thursday, October 11.
Diaz said there is no need to summon the doctors to prove Mrs Arroyo’s health condition.
“There’s no need to be vindictive about this. After all, she was a former President, like former Presidents Estrada and Ramos. She is…a national symbol,” Diaz said.
Arroyo has asked the court for hospital arrest on Monday, October 8, while the plunder case on the alleged misuse of intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is being heard.
On Wednesday, October 10, VMMC doctors deferred the former President’s discharge from the hospital, saying she needed further tests due to low serum potassium levels.
Lead prosecutor Diosdado Calonge recommended to the court that Mrs Arroyo be transferred to a detention center either in the Philippine National Police or the National Bureau of Investigation. “If she needs physical therapy, it can be done there,” Calonge said.
Calonge also noted a medical bulletin issued by the VMMC and presented by the defense panel to the court last Wednesday, October 10, which stted that Arroyo’s “dehydration” has been “corrected.”
The former President has been confined at the hospital since Thursday, October 4, after complaining of dehydration and weakness. The court served a warrant of arrest against her on the same day.
Arroyo and 9 other former government officials are facing plunder charges over Ombudsman allegations that they misused the charity funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Plunder is a non-bailable offense. – Rappler.com
For related articles, read:
- Timeline: Arroyo and her electoral sabotage case
- Sandiganbayan: Why was Arroyo released?
- Arroyo bail: Forgive and forget?
- Arroyo, 9 others charged with plunder
- Comelec broke rules to charge Arroyo
- Graft court summons Arroyo doctors
- Court stops plunder hearing vs Arroyo
- Witness vs Arroyo credible, says Comelec