MANILA - Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has asked the Sandiganbayan to allow her to post bail since the evidence presented so far has failed to pinpoint her role in the alleged plunder of P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds.
In a five-page motion, the lawyers of Arroyo said: “Accused GMA is entitled to bail because no evidence of her guilt exists. At the very least, any such evidence is not strong.”
Arroyo is currently under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) after the anti-graft court gave credence to the petition filed by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Plunder is punishable by reclusion perpetua. Article III, Section 13 of the Constitution provides that “all persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties.”
Arroyo’s counsels said this means that even if she is charged with plunder, she is entitled to bail since evidence is not strong.
“To begin with, even the Office of the Ombudsman had issued conflicting findings on whether accused GMA committed plunder,” her counsels noted.
They also said a probe by a panel of investigators “did not find that accused GMA committed the crime of plunder.”
A joint resolution dated July 10, 2012 also noted that probable cause existed but “is based on mere assumptions, surmises and conjectures…”
Arroyo’s counsels asked that the Sandiganbayan determine the amount for bail.