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MANILA, Philippines – For the third time, the anti-graft court denied the request of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to be allowed bail, owing to her failing health.
Arroyo, now Pampanga congresswoman and under hospital arrest, is not “very sick” like her counsels want the Sandiganbayan wants to believe, the resolution of the Special First Division said.
As in the first and second instances that her motion for bail was denied, the justices voted 3-2 against granting her bail. They maintained that the evidence against Arroyo in the irregular conversation and disbursement of state lottery funds was strong.
In this latest decision, the Sandiganbayan warned the defense that it would no longer allow piecemeal submission of arguments.
Watch this report below.
Arroyo is charged for allegedly conspiring to misuse P366 million in corporate funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office during her presidency.
His petition for bail was first denied on November 6, 2013; her appeal was denied on February 20, 2014.
Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang ad associate justices Rafael Lagos and Efren de la Cruz voted to deny Arroyo’s request for bail, while associate justices Rodolfo Ponferrada and Jose Hernandez dissented.
Arroyo’s counsels, citing a Supreme Court (SC) ruling on Montano vs. Ocampo, said she is entitled to bail regardless of the evidence against her due to her deteriorating health and the lack of proof that she would leave to avoid prosecution.
The majority of justices said the decision on Senator Justiniano Montano didn’t apply to Arroyo’s case. They said he was allowed bail after the SC found no enough evidence to presume his guilt.
“There is, unfortunately, nothing in Montano (case) which can support the theory that, even if evidence is strong but the accused is not a flight risk, bail can be granted,” the anti-graft court said.
There was no convincing evidence either that Arroyo was too sick to stay under hospital arrest, the court said. It cited the the testimony of Dr. Martha Nucum, her doctor at the Veterans Mermorial Medical Ceneter, that said Arroyo’s condition is only “guarded.”
“Until now she (Arroyo) continues to feel severe pains in several parts of her body and also occasional difficulties in swallowing. So when I say guarded, I don’t mean she is well or very sick,” she testified. – Rappler.com