Plunder case aims to keep Arroyo in jail, says lawyer

By Perseus Echeminada, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 19 2012 01:16 AM | Updated as of Jul 19 2012 09:16 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The legal spokesman for Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said that the plunder case filed before the Sandiganbayan is meant to keep the former president in jail in case the Pasay City regional trial court grants her petition for bail on the electoral sabotage case.

Ferdinand Topacio said the latest plunder case for alleged misuse of funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) was not filed based on the merits but for the sole purpose of preventing her from gaining temporary liberty.

“Sadly, the Constitution is selectively applied by the President (Aquino),” he said in an interview on GMA-7.

Topacio added what is being seen right now is the swift exoneration of Aquino’s allies and the strict and excruciating bending of the rules against his political opponents.

Arroyo, currently under hospital detention at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC), is facing an electoral sabotage case together with former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Jr. and former election officer Lintang Bedol.

She pleaded not guilty and filed a motion to fix bail for her temporary release.

The prosecution panel had presented 10 witnesses including former Maguindanao administrator Norie Unas, who claimed that he overheard Arroyo giving orders to his boss to ensure a 12-0 victory of the Team Unity senatorial candidates during the 2007 midterm election.

The defense, however, claimed that there is no strong case against the former president because the testimony of Unas is mere hearsay.

Judge Jesus Mupas had already submitted the bail petition for resolution and a decision is expected next week, a court source said.