Arroyo files petition for bail in PCSO plunder case

Posted at 07/02/14 1:44 PM

MANILA - The camp of suspended Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo filed before the Sandiganbayan First Division a petition for bail in connection with the plunder case she is facing over the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds.

Arroyo's lawyer, Atty. Modesto Ticman, said they will present as a witness clinical psychologist Dr. Arnulfo Lopez, who will prove that the former president's continued detention at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) has aggravated her health.

Arroyo suffers from degenerative lumbar spine disease.

While this is the third petition for bail Arroyo's camp has filed in two years, Ticman said he is "not only hopeful, but also confident" that it will be granted by the court this time.

He noted that all the other accused in the case have been granted bail.

He said Arroyo should also be granted temporary liberty if the meaning of conspiracy, which is the act of one is the act of all, is to be strictly interpreted.

In the petition, Ticman also said the prosecution "has rested its case," citing two witnesses who testified they did not find any anomalies in the use of the funds.

"The prosecution's principal witness (Atty. Aleta Tolentino) testified that she has no personal knowledge of the proceedings, that her testimony is based on records at hand at the PCSO office. The prosecution's witness from the Commission on Audit (Flerida Jimenez) testified that there were no anomalies committed in the case at hand," the petition read.

Meanwhile, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, lawyer of former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, said the former president was saddened after hearing the news on her suspension ordered by the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division on Tuesday.

Topacio said Arroyo has been doing her best to fulfill her duties as a congresswoman despite being in hospital detention.

The Fourth Division ordered a 90-day suspension against Arroyo in connection with her graft case involving the controversial National Broadband Network (NBN) deal with Chinese telecommunications firm, ZTE Corp.

Signed by the justices led by Fourth Division chair Gregory Ong, the decision ordered Arroyo to cease and desist from performing and/or executing her functions and duties, as well as receiving and enjoying the salaries, benefits, and privileges of her position.