MANILA - Former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has urged the Supreme Court (SC) to grant her bail plea on her plunder case involving over P365-million in confidential Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds, suspend her trial before the Sandiganbayan, and junk the case against her.
This, after the United Nations Working Group on Human Rights ruled that her detention is arbitrary, and the anti-graft court's denial of her bail plea has violated her human rights.
"Mrs. Arroyo was denied bail on grounds that are not compatible with international law; she did not benefit from the presumption in favor of bail; she was denied bail exclusively on the basis of the alleged strength of evidence against her; measures alternative to pre-trial detention were not considered and there were undue delays in considering her bail position in the proceedings against her as a whole," the UN Working Group had ruled.
In a 115-page petition filed last October 15 through her lawyer, former Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza, Arroyo asked the high court to expedite the resolution of her petition, set the case for oral arguments, suspend the proceedings before the Sandiganbayan while the case is with the SC, and, as a final plea, order the dismissal of the plunder charge.
Arroyo urged the high court to reverse the Sandiganbayan's resolutions, dated April 6, 2015 and September 10, 2015, that junked her demurrer to evidence, a plea that is raised when a defendant believes the evidence against him or her is weak.
"[N]ot a single exhibit of the 637 exhibits offered by the prosecution nor a single testimony of the 21 witnesses of the prosecution was offered by the prosecution to prove that [Arroyo] amassed, accumulated, or acquired even a single peso of the alleged ill-gotten wealth amounting to P365,997,915.00 or any part of that amount alleged in the Information," Arroyo argued.
No paper trail proving plunder vs Arroyo: lawyer
Arroyo and several others were charged for the release of over P365-million in confidential/intelligence funds of the PCSO while Arroyo was still President. All of the other accused have been granted bail, except for Arroyo.