Lawyer says camp of former president not considering retribution
THE camp of former President Gloria Arroyo does not plan to file charges against former president Benigno Aquino 3rd or other officials who worked for her indictment for plunder, the former president’s lawyer Laurence Arroyo said Saturday.
The lawyer, who is not related to the former leader, said he has not heard any word about retribution since Mrs. Arroyo was released from detention at the Veteran Memorial Medical Center Thursday.
He said the family of the former president and their supporters are thankful for her release.
“I did not hear anything like that. The mood at the Arroyo camp is one of thanksgiving,” he told reporters.
Another lawyer of Arroyo, former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera, had said that her client will not sue Aquino and his officials who filed the plunder complaint.
“She’s not that kind of person,” Devanadera said in a television interview.
Former Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza, another counsel of Mrs. Arroyo, said that he will not recommend the filing of counter-charges.
”I am just a lawyer, I do not encourage anything. Now that she has been released, she will be occupied for a while for a health check up and she will start getting adjusted to a normal life,” Mendoza said.
“Remember, normal life can catch up quickly for her after being elected as member of the House of Representatives and indeed that is one of the injustices, not only to her, but the people of the second district of Pampanga. They elected her but she was unable to attend sessions in Congress because of this charge. Maybe she will be filing a bill to change the law which requires automatic and immediate suspension. A person who is detained is not detained as a punishment because it has no conviction. Her detention is what is known as preventive detention,” he explained.
Mrs. Arroyo spent her first night out of detention at the St. Luke’s Medical Center for a
thorough medical checkup.
She plans to visit her hometown today.
Arroyo said the Aquino government filed a plunder complaint against his client because it is the only criminal offense against public officials that is non-bailable.
He maintained that allegations that Mrs. Arroyo pocketed P50 million from the intelligence fund of the Philippine Charity Sweepstake Office.
“She was accused, along with several others, of amassing P50 million but the Supreme Court said there was no evidence that the accused public officers have amassed and acquired the ill-gotten wealth,” the lawyer added.
On plans to reconcile with the Aquino camp, Arroyo said it is possible, but he stressed that this will be a decision of the two parties.
He also said that the former president is doing better since she was released.
The High Court had dismissed the plunder complaint against Mrs. Arroyo for lack of evidence.
The former president had said that she will focus on her work as a lawmaker now that she is no longer under detention.
She will be at the House of Representatives on Monday for the first State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte. It will be the first SONA that she will witness as a lawmaker since she was detained in 2012.
Devanadera confirmed on Saturday that Mrs. Arroyo will attend the SONA. The former Justice chief said the former leader will be spending the weekend with her family in their La Vista, Quezon City residence.
Meanwhile, presumptive Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez welcomed Arroyo’s acquittal.
“It’s a good thing that she was released so that former President Gloria Arroyo can start serving her constituents in her district at least in her last term because she already had two terms and she was not able to fully serve her district while in detention,” he told reporters.