NOTING that being under hospital arrest is in itself a “privilege,” President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Monday said there is no reason for former President Gloria Arroyo to be granted bail or be placed under house arrest in the same way that Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile was released from jail.
“Let’s not forget that hospital arrest in itself is a privilege and she is under hospital arrest to ensure that whatever available remedies, cures, therapies, are needed, are given in a very timely fashion,” Aquino said in an interview.
The president also does not welcome a measure passed in Congress asking the Sandiganbayan to allow house arrest for Arroyo.
“With all due respect to all of them (lawmakers)… Ano ba ang value dadalhin siya sa bahay? Ilalayo mo doon sa pagamutan. Kung ang dahilan nga nasa pagamutan siya dahil may isyu siya sa kalusugan. So anong magagawa doon sa bahay na hindi magagawa ‘nung hospital? Bakit ilalayo mo pa sa gamutan? (Why bring her home? You will take her away from the hospital when the reason that she is in hospital is her frail health. So what can you do at home that can’t be done in a hospital?”) he asked.
Aquino said the Supreme Court (SC) decision allowing Enrile to post bail is a puzzle because the evidence against him for plunder was strong.
He said plunder is supposed to be a non-bailable offense and while bail may be allowed for those with “weak evidence,” the SC was silent on the merits of the case but gave weight to Enrile’s age.
Enrile’s release buoyed hopes for the Arroyo camp since the former president has a pending bail petition at the SC.
“I think it (Enrile’s release) will help the petition of former President Arroyo because I think they are similarly situated,” defense lawyer Laurence Arroyo told reporters in an interview at the Sandiganbayan.
Arroyo said if the High Court grants Arroyo’s petition for bail, they will no longer pursue their plea for house arrest which they filed at the Sandiganbayan in April this year.
The former leader asked the anti-graft court to change her custodial arrangement from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center to either her La Vista residence in Quezon City or her home in Lubao, Pampanga. The defense is hoping that house arrest can help her recover more quickly and fully.