Palace accepts RTC decision to free Arroyo
MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang accepts the decision of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court to allow former President Arroyo to post bail. But presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda reiterated that this will not hamper the administration’s campaign to run after those who he says have done wrong.
“Whatever the decision of the court is, we recognize, because it was a court which had ample jurisdiction to hear the case,” Lacierda said.
“When a case was filed already before the courts, of course, there’s always a 50/50 chance that it would be granted, it would not be granted. So when we heard today, this morning, that the court granted the petition for bail, all we have to do is just recognize that it happened so we move on,” he added.
Lacierda said the Pasay RTC’s decision proves that the Palace does not control the judiciary and that it respects its independence.
“The fact is na binigyan po ng piyansa ni Judge Mupas, pinapakita rin po rito ang kasarinlan ng judiciary. Ang sinasabi nila, hawak na po ng executive branch ang judiciary. Nagpapatunay po ito na ginagalang po namin ang kasarinlan ng judiciary,” he said.
Lacierda would not say that the electoral sabotage case against Mrs. Arroyo is weak. He said he is not familiar with the details of the case and it is the Commission on Elections that handles it.
The Palace now awaits the development of the non-bailable plunder case against Mrs. Arroyo over the alleged misuse of PCSO funds.
Lacierda is assuming that the plunder case against Arroyo is strong, saying that the Ombudsman is strict in evaluating evidence.
“I would assume—and this is based on my own assumption—based on her history of filing, dismissing, and diminishing charges against government officials, I would assume that this a strong case. Otherwise, she would not have pursued this case against the former President,” he said.
“’Yun po ay isa pang kaso and finile po yun ng Ombudsman. Tingnan po natin. May kaso pa naman si Ginang Arroyo.”
He said the Palace has no hand in the Sandiganbayan’s issuance of a hold departure order around the time that Arroyo was allowed to post bail.
“It would be too presumptuous for us, because we have no say, we have no discretion, we have no control over the judiciary. I think the Sandiganbayan would take umbrage on the assumption that we had any say on the issuance of the HDO by the Sandiganbayan justices.”
Notwithstanding the decision of the Pasay RTC to allow Mrs. Arroyo to post bail, the Palace says its fight against corruption continues.
“The fight against corruption continues. We will still go after people who have found to have plundered the nation’s coffers. That’s the reason why there is a PCSO case still before the Sandiganbayan. This will not dampen our resolve to file and to continue to institute corruption cases against responsible officials,” Lacierda said.