Sandiganbayan won’t grant Arroyo bail following UN ruling
The Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang thumbed down granting former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo bail from plunder over an alleged charity funds mess just because the United Nations said so.
In an interview at the House of Representatives plenary debate on the judiciary budget on Oct. 8, 2015, Tang said it would take a more radical decision than the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention resolution to allow Arroyo temporary freedom.
Tang maintained that the court did not violate any international law.
She made the reaction after Arroyo’s lawyer Lorenzo Gadon said the UN Working Group found Arroyo’s hospital arrest arbitrary, illegal and a form of political persecution.
Gadon said Atty. Amal Clooney, who represented Arroyo before the UN, emailed him about the UN’s resolution favoring Arroyo.
“The UN opinion finds that the detention of former President Arroyo was arbitrary and illegal under international law because the Sandiganbayan court failed to take into account her individual circumstances when it repeatedly denied her bail,” according to Clooney’s email to Gadon furnished to the media.
“I don’t think court violated any international law, The court has always observed all the processes that are in place in the country… (Arroyo) filed the petition for bail that was heard evidence was presented and after due evaluation the court came up this its resolution,” Tang said.
“I believe the judiciousness of the members of the division. If there may be a change or radical change in the circumstances, perhaps that can serve as a ground for a change in the resolution. But if there is no significant change, I would believe that the decision will stay,” she added.
First Division Chairman Associate Justice Efren Dela Cruz said his division denied Arroyo’s bail and demurrer of evidence because of the evidence presented.
“We follow existing jurisprudence on the matter. We based our resolutions on the existing laws and jurisprudence…Our mandate is not to be influenced by any public opinion or whatever. We should base our resolution on the facts and evidences of the case, that’s all,” Dela Cruz said.
Arroyo ran and won the Pampanga district seat after her term as president in 2010 in a supposed bid to be immune from suits amid allegations of massive corruption during her term.
But this supposed immunity backfired. Arroyo served her first term present in the plenary until she was ordered detained for plunder in 2012 over an alleged charity funds mess. Even while under detention, she won her reelection bid in 2013.
Arroyo is placed under detention at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center as she faces plunder before the Sandiganbayan for allegedly using P366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) from 2008 to 2010 for personal gain. She is in the hospital as she claimed to be suffering from a degenerative bone disease.
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