JAILED former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will stay locked up as the Sandiganbayan is expected to announce its decision denying her petition for bail.
Arroyo, who has been under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, was charged with plunder over the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds.
Associate Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, who was recently appointed Presiding Justice of the anti-graft court, voted against the bail petition.
According to an unimpeachable source, three justices cast votes denying bail for the former president and now Pampanga representative. The Special First Division of the Sandiganbayan will come out with the ruling on Arroyo.
The ruling was anchored on the certification made by Arroyo’s co-accused and former PCSO official Benigno Aguas that the money went to Malacañang.
The justices ruled that the evidence of guilt is strong enough for Arroyo to be denied bail.
Arroyo and Aguas will be denied bail in this case.
The Sandiganbayan First Division is headed by Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz. The members are Associate Justices Rodolfo Ponferrada and Rafael Lagos.
The source said Ponferrada made a dissent, which caused a Special Division of five justices to include Tang and Associate Justice Jose Hernandez.
The same source told The Manila Times that Aquino rewarded Tang by appointing her to the anti-graft court after she reopened the plea bargaining agreement case of former military comptroller Carlos Garcia and for voting to deny Arroyo’s petition.
Tang’s appointment was also backed up by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who like Tang graduated from San Beda College, and Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza.
Tang was a former Assistant Solicitor General before her appointment to the Sandiganbayan.
Another Tang backer is San Miguel Corporation President Ramon Ang. Tang is vital in the cases of SMC involving presidential uncle Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco.
In the case of Arroyo, the vote of Tang ensured that the lawmaker will spend a longer time in detention.
Arroyo had asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the P365.9-million plunder case against her for allegedly misusing PCSO intelligence funds.
Arroyo invoked her right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty under Article III, Section 14 (2) of the Constitution and Rule 115, Section 1 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure claiming that the case filed by the Office of the Ombudsman should be quashed for lack of probable cause.
She claimed said Section 3 of Rule 131 of the Revised Rules of Evidence provides that an accused is presumed innocent by submission of evidence, adding that she has a right for acquittal under Section 2 of the same Rule. She pointed out that even in the preliminary investigation by the Ombudsman, necessary elements of plunder under Section 2 of Republic Act No. 2080 were not established as the law requires commission by a public officer or connivance with relatives or subordinates in amassing ill-gotten wealth worth at least P50 million.
Arroyo asked the Supreme Court to stop the Sandiganbayan from hearing the case.