Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s lawyers yesterday again asked the Sandiganbayan to grant the former president bail by promising she will not be either a flight risk or will hide from one place to another.
The graft court’s First Division, which denied the main petition for bail and the motion for reconsideration filed after it was issued, is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the latest pleading on Thursday (April 3).
“She is frail and weak and is in constant need of medical attention. She cannot flee to the hills. She cannot flit from one hiding place to another in the dead of night. She cannot—and will not—live life on the run,” a 12-page reply to the comment or opposition by the prosecution to a supplemental motion for reconsideration filed before the anti-graft court read.
Records show that the original motion for bail and the motion for reconsideration lodged after the same was denied were filed by Arroyo’s former lawyer Anacleto Diaz (who was later replaced by Modesto Ticman Jr.), while the supplemental motion for reconsideration on the first denial was filed separately by her other lawyers led by Laurence Hector Arroyo a day before the first appeal was likewise denied.
Laurence Arroyo is arguing that the supplemental pleading he filed raised different arguments from that of Diaz and Ticman, which focused on the grant of bail for health reasons, among others.
“President Arroyo is not asking that she be given special treatment—in one sense, she is no different from all the other defendants standing trial—but she does respectfully ask that her unique circumstances be recognized—in that sense, she is different from most other defendants standing trial,” he said.
Citing law and jurisprudence, the former president’s lawyers, noting that even Ombudsman prosecutors concede that their client was not a flight risk, said exception to the fundamental right to be bailed should be applied in direct ratio to the extent of probability of evasion of prosecution.
“President Arroyo is not asking that she be given bail because she was a former president but because, having been ‘touched by the presidency,’ her ‘official and social standing,’ vouchsafed by destiny to but a few Filipinos, taken together with her ‘other personal circumstances,’ eliminate the possibility of flight,” he stressed.
Arroyo’s camp further pointed out that the former president, unlike any other citizen, cannot lose herself in a crowd and no immigration officer will allow her to board any plane or ship.
“Moreover, the prosecution has all but conceded that she is not a flight risk. Moreover, she remains innocent unless and until a court of law adjudges her guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. Whereas the prosecution would rob the Constitution of its ‘soul,’ President Arroyo merely seeks to hold the Constitution to its guarantees,” her lawyers said.
Arroyo is still under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center and is being tried for plunder for her alleged role in the misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office confidential and intelligence funds from 2008 to 2010.