The Sandiganbayan, the Philippines’special court which deals with graft and corruption cases, rejected on Monday former President Gloria Arroyo’s third appeal for bail. The appeal was reportedly denied on the grounds that there is strong evidence that she was involved in the misuse of some P366-million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds during her presidential term.
“Since the Court has found existence of strong evidence against movant Arroyo after the bail hearings, no bail can be allowed in accordance with Section 7, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure,” the Sandiganbayan’s First Division said in its ruling.
The decision was signed by four of the division’s five magistrates – Justices Efren de la Cruz, Rodolfo Ponferrada, Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Rafael Lagos – leaving one magistrate, Justice Jose Hernandez, in dissension.
The court had earlier stated that it was not pleased with the “piecemeal presentation” of Arroyo’s bail appeal, and also later on added that it was no longer necessary to hear oral arguments on the matter.
In 2013, Arroyo sought bail – after which a supplemental motion was filed in February 2014 – for health considerations. The court denied bail in both instances.
Earlier this May, Arroyo once more filed for bail, her third appeal, on the heels of her acquittal in the controversial fertilizer fund scam.
The third appeal was filed by Arroyo’s lawyers, after the Sandiganbayan issued a directive to the state prosecutors to present a witness to show why Arroyo should be denied bail. The prosecution, instead, rested their case against the former president; having run out of witnesses to present.
The Sandiganbayan, however, ultimately threw out the appeal for bail.