Arroyo asks Sandiganbayan to place her under house arrest

By , on April 9, 2015

Former president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. (FILE PHOTO)
Former president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. (FILE PHOTO)

MANILA — The camp of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo asked the Sandiganbayan First Division that she be placed on house arrest, saying she was not a flight risk and emphasizing that she was not a flight risk.

In her motion to modify custodial arrangement which was filed late Wednesday afternoon, Arroyo’s lawyers pleaded for compassion and said her request was made under humanitarian considerations.

“Wherefore, premises considered, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo respectfully prays that, upon clearance by her doctors, the Honorable Court allows her to be transferred to and placed under house arrest in her resident at La Vista Subdivision, Quezon City,” the motion said.

Arroyo, who is suffering a spine disease, has been under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City since 2012 for allegedly conspiring to fraudulently divert Php366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office “for personal gain” from 2008 to 2010.

In their motion, Arroyo’s lawyers reminded the court that house arrest was allowed by law and that it was in no way considered special treatment.

“The Honorable Court has the power to place President Arroyo under house arrest. Rule 113, Section 4 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure allows for the “transfer” of a person under detention “upon lawful order of the court.” So long as a person can be held to “answer for the commission of an offense,” the purpose of the Rule is met. It does not matter if the arrestee is detained in jail or a police station or a hospital or at home,” Arroyo’s lawyer Jose Flaminiano said.

“House arrest is not special treatment. It is a mode of arrest allowed by the Rules and recognized by the Supreme Court. If it is so allowed, then the Honorable Court, in the exercise of its discretion, can grant it,” the motion added.

Flaminiano also said that house arrest would allow Arroyo to regain her health.

“It is hoped that President Arroyo’s house arrest can help her recuperate and heal more quickly and fully,” the motion said.

Arroyo’s health has rapidly deteriorated under detention.

The Arroyo lawyers emphasized that the former president is not a flight risk, and that house arrest will not change her circumstances. They also noted that less security forces will be required to secure Arroyo in her Quezon City home.

“Arroyo will be no more a flight risk at home than she is in the hospital. The same sick and frail woman who occupies the VMMC will be the same sick and frail woman who will occupy her house in La Vista Subdivision. The same platoon of policemen who secure her at the sprawling VMMC grounds will be the same who will secure her in her more modest residential grounds,” they said.

“Her resolve to face the charges against her will be no less under house arrest than it is under hospital arrest,” the motion added.