This page will be updated as lawmakers release their statements on the ruling.
MANILA, Philippines – Lawmakers are weighing in on the Supreme Court (SC) ruling that acquitted former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of plunder.
On Tuesday, July 19, the SC granted Arroyo’s plea to drop the case against her and ordered her immediate release from detention.
Senator Leila de Lima, the justice secretary when Arroyo was charged and placed under hospital arrest, has expressed disappointment over the ruling. (READ: TIMELINE: Gloria Arroyo – from plunder to acquittal)
Below are the reactions of other legislators to the SC decision.
Senator Francis Escudero:
“I respect the decision of the Court as everyone else should, whether they agree with it or not. Respect for the rule of law demands nothing less. I don’t think the statements of President Duterte have anything to do with it as I believe in the independence of the Court. I cannot comment on the prosecution given that I am not too learned about the day to day arguments both sides made before the Court.”
Senator Panfilo Lacson:
“She has suffered enough, having spent 6 years in detention under an extremely difficult physical condition. Even for purely humanitarian consideration, I support the SC ruling to free her and accord her some comfort for the remaining years of her life which are not really that many considering her age. As I have repeatedly said, while I will never forget who they are, I have forgiven all my tormentors for the past 9 years under her administration, living or dead.”
Senator Risa Hontiveros (one of the petitioners against Arroyo in 2011):
“It’s a sad day for justice.
“The case we filed is strong. In fact, it was one of the two PCSO plunder cases admitted by the Office of the Ombudsman under Conchita Carpio Morales, and subsequently filed before the Sandiganbayan. The Ombudsman also confirmed that the said funds were converted, misused, and illegally transferred.
“I am shocked with the high court’s ruling, but we will not lose hope. Tuloy ang laban para sa katarungan (The fight for justice continues).”
Senator Joel Villanueva:
“It is what it is, we have to respect the rule of law. That is how our justice system works. It would be interesting for me to read the court decision first before commenting on it.”
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV:
“The release of GMA is one of the campaign promises of President Duterte. At least, he didn’t need to do much to fulfill this one.”