The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered the Office of the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan to explain why former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should not be granted bail.
Arroyo, who is facing charges of plunder in connection with the alleged misuse of P366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), asked the SC to allow her to post bail.
The High Court directed the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan to submit their comment within a period of 10 days from receipt.
The former president accused the anti-graft court of grave abuse of discretion for denying her bail petition. She said the Sandiganbayan should not have junked her plea because her continued detention has impaired her health and she is not a flight risk.
“Petitioner President Arroyo is not the kind of criminal that the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they deliberated on the issue of denying bail in capital offenses. She is not a ‘danger to society.’ She is not a murderer. She has not committed treason. She is not in a position to repeat the crime for which she is being charged,” her lawyers said.
Arroyo, 68, who is detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City, is suffering from degenerative bone diseases at her cervical and lumbar spine. She has had three major cervical spine surgeries; and has difficulty in swallowing food.
“[Arroyo] is not asking that she be restored ‘to the pink of health.’ She is only asking that she be granted provisional liberty in order that she may sufficiently recover from her illnesses and to prevent her health condition from deteriorating,” lawyers of the former leader said.
Doctors said Arroyo has not shown any significant improvement despite the “medical modalities” that she underwent.
In their report submitted to the court early this month, Dr. Antonio Sison and Dr. Martha Nucum said Arroyo “continues to feel the ill effects of her previous surgeries.”