Arroyo’s plea to reactivate voter registration in Pampanga opposed

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Prosecutors prefer that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo register as a voter at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) where she is under hospital arrest, rather than leave detention to reactivate her voter’s registration in Lubao, Pampanga.

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Arroyo earlier asked the Sandiganbayan to let her travel to her home province to reactivate her name in the voters’ list and undergo biometrics validation there as required by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The defense said that Arroyo has been given a notice of deactivation from the Comelec because of her failure to vote in two consecutive polls. Unless she reactivates her name, she would not be able to vote in the next elections.

Moreover, under the law, an unregistered voter in the district where he or she shall be elected cannot be a member of the House of Representatives.

Arroyo “is willing to hazard the trip to Pampanga if this is what it takes for her to be able to exercise her constitutional right to vote in the upcoming national and local elections and to run for public office,” the motion read.

She also expressed willingness to shoulder all expenses for the trip to Pampanga.

Her lawyers said in the motion that she would return to the VMMC immediately after she completes the reactivation and validation processes.

As an alternative relief, the defense asked the court to direct Lubao’s election officer to facilitate the cited processes at the VMMC.

But for practical considerations, prosecutors Gidget Rose Duque and Julieta Niduaza said that they would choose to direct the Lubao election officer to conduct the reactivation and biometrics validation at the VMMC.

“We agree to the above proposed arrangement of the prosecutors,” manifested defense lawyers Jose Flaminiano and Lawrence Arroyo after the hearing on the motion.

The court has yet to issue a resolution on the matter.

Arroyo, now on her second term as a representative of Pampanga, is under hospital arrest at the VMMC for poll sabotage charges in connection with the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds during her presidency.

She is also facing a plunder charge at the Sandiganbayan over the same allegations.

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