GMA begs Sandigan go-ahead for bail


Former President Gloria Arroyo on Tuesday pressed the Sandiganbayan to allow her to post bail as she reiterated that there is no evidence at all to show that she committed plunder through her alleged involvement in the misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) during the last years of her administration.

The former leader, now under hospital arrest, insisted that she is not a flight risk and that her age, health condition, and stature as a public figure should be considered for humanitarian reasons.

“All these circumstances, taken together, negate and invalidate any claim that accused GMA is a flight risk,” Arroyo, through her lawyer Anacleto Diaz, said in their 32-page motion filed before the Sandiganbayan’s First Division.

Arroyo, who has been detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City since October 2012 after plunder charges were filed against her in July of the same year, filed a motion for bail in January 2013 along with former PCSO officials Sergio Valencia, Manuel Morato, Raymundo Roquero, and Benigno Aguas.

The Sandiganbayan after several bail hearings, granted temporary liberty to Valencia, Morato and Roquero last month and ordered them to post bail bonds as high as P700,000 but did not grant or deny the bail petitions of Arroyo and Aguas.

“She pleads once again that this Honorable Court allow her to post bail, for with it lies accused GMA’s opportunity to regain and rebuild what freedom can be had after being without it while in the grip of her advancing age and lingering illnesses for more than a year,” the former president told the Sandiganbayan.

The 66-year-old former leader is now asking the anti-graft court to also resolve act on her request for temporary liberty, noting that she “should also be granted bail considering that as in the case of her three co-accused, there is also no evidence that [she]amassed, accumulated and acquired ill-gotten wealth.”

In the same motion, Arroyo said there is no evidence that she participated in the processing of the disbursement vouchers covering the releases of the CIF funds, in releasing the subject CIF and in receiving the funds constituting the same.

“There is no evidence that accused GMA knew that there was no proper liquidation of the CIF and there is no evidence that accused GMA concurred in making cash advances from the CIF funds of PCSO,” Arroyo in her motion said.

Arroyo’s camp emphasized that “there being no proof at all that accused GMA was personally benefited or unjustly enriched by the subject CIF, there cannot be strong evidence of her guilt for the crime of plunder as charged.”

On the issue of being a flight risk, the former president said her re-election as a congressman of Pampanga in the May 2013 polls “which strengthens her ties to the public and the media coupled with decades of maintaining her political will, roots and legacy, it is highly improbable for accused GMA to take flight and turn into a common fugitive from the law.

“Moreover, her physical condition in terms of age and health magnify the humanitarian considerations that outweigh bare accusations that she is a ‘flight risk,’” her lawyer told the Sandiganbayan.

“Further, by actively participating in the instant proceedings, she has more than proven her intent to establish her innocence. All these circumstances, taken together, negate any claim that accused GMA may be a flight risk,” her lawyer stressed.


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