MalacaÑang on Tuesday said it is up to the courts if former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo can be granted house arrest.
Accordong to Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., only the Sandiganbayan can decide where to detain Arroyo while she is facing her plunder case before the anti-graft court.
“This is a matter that falls under the Sandiganbayan’s jurisdiction as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is undergoing trial,” Coloma told reporters in a text message.
Coloma issued the statement after the House of Representatives’ justice committee approved also on Tuesday a resolution favoring house arrest for the country’s former leader.
Citing information from Presidential Legislative Liaison Office chief Manuel Mamba, he noted that the resolution supporting Arroyo’s house arrest should still be approved by the entire House.
“The resolution emanating from members of the House justice committee will have to be presented to the House plenary,” Coloma said.
Arroyo is detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City over a P366-million plunder charge involving alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds.
The Pampanga lawmaker was reported to have “multiple cervical spondylosis in 2011,” with her lawyers stressing the need for medical treatment abroad.
In February 2015, Arroyo made headlines after international lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney filed a complaint at the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights on her behalf.
The complaint urged the Philippine government to release the former president on humanitarian grounds.
Clooney’s high-profile clients also include Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy and Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.