Lawmakers on Friday unanimously adopted House Resolution 1908 backing calls for the house arrest of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is under hospital detention over a P366-million plunder case over alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office intelligence funds.
Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, also president of Lakas of which the former leader is a member, thanked Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City (Metro Manila) Rep. Neptali Gonzales 2nd for paving the way for the resolution.
Arroyo, Romualdez said, “should be allowed to stay in her residence for cure and treatment because this would do more good [for]her failing health.”
“This is about compassion,” he added.
Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza, Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. and Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano 3rd also favored house arrest for the former President.
“We’re talking of a human life here. We appeal to the court to consider this seriously,” Atienza said.
Barzaga, a lawyer, said, “I believe this [house arrest]is long overdue. She deserves not only compassion, but the respect fit for a former head of state. Anyway, she is yet to be convicted of what she had been charged of. She is sick, she is not a flight risk, so I don’t think a little compassion and respect accorded to her would be detrimental to the case the government is pursuing [against her].”
The House resolution is specifically asking the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to place Arroyo under house arrest in her residence at La Vista Subdivision in Quezon City.
The former leader is now a congresswoman representing her native Pampanga province.
“I hope the advocacy of Pope Francis on mercy and compassion will touch the hearts of the Sandiganbayan justices,” 1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello, the author of the resolution, said.