Palace hands off on GMA request for house arrest

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 25 2011 12:26 PM | Updated as of Nov 26 2011 01:30 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Friday said it is leaving it up to government prosecutors to decide whether or not they will oppose former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's request for house arrest.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte welcomed a report from Arroyo's doctors that the former President is already recovering and is fit to leave St. Luke's Medical Center in Bonifacio, Taguig.

"We're very happy to hear and note the improvement in the condition of Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and we wish her a speedy recovery as we have always done since the onset of this issue," she told ANC.

Valte said it has always been the position of Malacañang that Arroyo's doctors should speak about the former President's medical condition, and not her spokespersons.

She noted that Arroyo's spokespersons had been saying that the former President "needed to stay in the hospital, that her condition is not improving, and she's worse off than after her surgery."

"It was only last night when the spokesperson said there is an improvement in her condition," she said.

Valte said Malacañang will leave it to the prosecutors and the discretion of Pasay Regional Trial Court branch 112 Judge Jesus Mupas to determine if Arroyo should be placed under house arrest.

"We will leave it up to the [Commission on Elections]. We don't want to be perceived as putting any pressure on the prosecution panel. Comelec is an independent body," she said.

She also noted that the Comelec is already moving for Arroyo's transfer to a detention facility.

Valte was asked about Justice Secretary Leila de Lima's statement last week that the government would not object to Arroyo's hospital arrest.

She said: "That statement of Secretary de Lima was made in reference to the weekend. The warrant of arrest was served last Friday and there was a question on where she will be taken because the court was closed on Saturday and Sunday. The statement of Secretary de Lima was made in the interim. I don't think she mentioned house arrest at the time."