Arroyo seeks bail in plunder case
MANILA, Philippines - Former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Friday, January 18, asked the Sandiganbayan to grant her bail in the plunder charge filed against her.
Arroyo, now a lawmaker representing her province Pampanga, said she is willing to post any amount of bail that the graft court may deem sufficient.
Arroyo's lawyers Anacleto Diaz and Luis Karlo Tagarda said the former President is entitled to bail because the prosecution failed to present evidence to sustain allegations that she committed plunder.
The Office of the Ombudsman found Arrroyo guilty of plunder because she suppsedly conspired with officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and the Commission on Audit (COA) to "fraudulently" convert P366 million operating funds of the state lottery firm into confidential intelligence funds.
Her lawyers cited supposedly conflicting findings of the Office of Ombudsman. They cited an initial resolution where investigators said they “did not find that accused GMA (Arroyo) committed the crime of plunder.”
The Review Joint Resolution dated July 10, 2012, which eventually recommended the indictment, was supposedly based on “mere assumptions, surmises and conjectures and not upon any direct or concrete evidence.”
“There being thus no evidence at all, let alone strong evidence that accused GMA is guilty of the crime charged, accused GMA is entitled to bail as a matter of right,” reads Arroyo's motion.
Since Oct 4, 2012, Mrs Arroyo has been under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center where she was served an arrest warrant.
She earlier tried to get some time off detention but in a Dec 19, 2012 resolution, the graft court denied her request to spend Christmas and New Year holidays at her family home in Lubao, Pampanga.
Named co-defendants were former PCSO Board of Directors chairman Sergio O. Velancia; former PCSO general manager Rosario C. Uriarte; PCSO directors Manuel L. Morato, Jose R. Taruc V, Raymundo T. Roquero and Ma. Fatima A. S. Valdes; PCSO budget officer Benigno B. Aguas; former Commission on Audit chairman Reynaldo A. Villar and former COA-Intelligence Fund Unit head Nilda B. Plaras.- Rappler.com