Malacañang on Monday said only the court can decide whether or not former president and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo can run in next year’s polls.
“The issue on whether or not former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo can seek re-election is best left to the discretion of the Sandiganbayan and the Comelec [Commission on Elections],” Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a text message.
“As she is presently under hospital arrest, it is not within the authority of the Executive branch to decide or adjudicate that matter,” he added.
Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code states that persons disqualified to run and hold any office are those who have been “declared by competent authority insane or incompetent, or has been sentenced by final judgment for subversion, insurrection, rebellion or for any offense for which he has been sentenced to a penalty of more than eighteen months or for a crime involving moral turpitude” unless the person has been given plenary pardon or granted amnesty.
Earlier, Raul Lambino raised the possibility of Arroyo running for re-election. She is under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City. She is charged with electoral sabotage before the Pasay City regional trial court.
Mrs. Arroyo is also facing two counts of graft and a complaint for violation of RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees at the Sandiganbayan. She was also charged with plunder at the Sandiganbayan for the alleged misuse of P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds.