MANILA — Government prosecutors on Wednesday blocked the house arrest petition of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s camp now facing plunder charges and is under hospital arrest.
“To be detained in one’s home is a transgression of the rule of law and an insult to the judicial system and to other detention prisoners also facing plunder before the Sandiganbayan First Division,” the prosecution said in its formal opposition filed with the Sandiganbayan.
They argued that the law does not grant house arrest to an accused whose bail motion and demurer to evidence were denied.
Arroyo is currently detained at the Veterans Memorial and Medical Center in Quezon City.
The prosecution said “the argument raised by the accused that she be placed under house arrest runs counter to her actual medicalconditions.”
The former leader was charged in connection with the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) fund during her term as president, and has been on hospital arrest since October 2012.
She is suffering from spine problems and in the past had been seen in public in a wheelchair.
The prosecution noted in their petition that Arroyo’s current medical condition remains unchanged “despite years of treatment and therapy,” as disclosed by her legal counsel, Laurence Arroyo.
Citing this, the prosecutors said the hospital is a better place for Arroyo’s confinement than her house in La Vista in Quezon City or in Lubao in Pampanga.
“It has always been the argument of the accused-movant that her medical condition has remained unchanged and needs continuous therapy. Thus the hospital is the best place for her as she needs constant medical attention,” the prosecutors claimed.
The prosecution also said the former president’s situation is different from former President Estrada’s when the latter was also detained in his Tanay, Rizal rest house.
The prosecution said that in Estrada’s case, his house, which was adjacent to the Philippine National Police’s Camp Capinpin, was converted into a police camp and was “for all intents and purposes” a police camp.
The prosecution also emphasized that there is “no rule that allows house arrest to an accused whose bail petition and demurrer have been denied.”
The Sandiganbayan gave the defense 15 days to submit its reply to the opposition, after which Arroyo’s motion for house arrest will be deemed submitted for resolution.