MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos should blame President Benigno Aquino III if his predecessor manages to post bail for her electoral sabotage case, activist group Anakbayan said Wednesday, June 6.
A Pasay court could allow former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to post bail if the Commission on Elections (Comelec) fails to present crucial evidence against her, with the law guaranteeing her right to post bail if there is no strong evidence of guilt. (Read: ‘Bigger’ chance for GMA bail.)
“It has been two years already, and it has failed to file strong cases against the former president. As it is, Aquino has allowed special treatment via hospital detention for the former president despite doctors’ findings that she is no longer sick,” Anakbayan said in a statement.
The government has not filed “strong” charges of plunder, human rights violations, and other cases related to the “Hello, Garci” wiretapped conversations that allegedly point to cheating in the 2004 presidential elections, Anakbayan said.
“Aquino’s failure to file a strong case (against) GMA reinforces the Filipino people’s belief that the administration’s motive in ousting Corona is personal vendetta and not to bring GMA to justice,” the group added.
On Wednesday, Pasay Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 112 allowed Arroyo’s co-accused in the electoral sabotage case – former Comelec chair Benjamin Abalos – to post bail.
The court will be hearing the case again on Thursday, June 7.
In Arroyo’s electoral sabotage case, a key witness disappeared last week, prompting the Comelec not to present its star witness “to make sure of his security.”
“Even with the testimony of these two people, the case is already weak. Without the testimony of these people, it becomes much weaker,” lawyer Ferdinand Topacio told Rappler in a phone interview Tuesday, June 5.
Comelec might have bungled the historic case after it “junked its own rules, cut short due process and went against previous rulings of the Supreme Court” to fast-track the electoral sabotage charge, Newsbreak reported last year. (Read: Comelec broke rules to charge Arroyo.)
Meanwhile, Arroyo is also facing 2 counts of graft and another charge for allegedly violating the ethical code for public officials. She has entered a “not guilty” plea before the Sandiganbayan. – Rappler.com