Sandiganbayan excuses Arroyo in pre-trial

Posted at 08/06/12 1:30 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Sandiganbayan excused former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from her pre-trial in connection with the plunder case involving the botched NBN-ZTE deal.

The justices of the anti-graft court apparently took pity on Arroyo, who had to attend Monday morning’s pre-trial hearing against the wishes of her doctors.

Arroyo was earlier diagnosed with acute cervical and lumbar strain.

She was earlier allowed on bail by a local court on charges of electoral sabotage. Since then, she has been going out nonstop, including visiting her constituents in Pampanga.

This aggravated her condition, which forced her to go back to the hospital.

Arroyo’s spokesperson, Elena Bautista-Horn, said the Sandiganbayan instead directed her to sign a special power of attorney.

"Nag 'out on pass' lang si Ma'am kasi ayaw.payagan ng doctors lumabas. We had to submit a waiver to the [Veterans Memorial Medical Center]….She was later on excused (by the court) after making sure that she has a signed SPA (Special Power of Attorney) for her lawyers. She went straight to VMMC after Sandiganbayan. She has a scheduled physical therapy today,” she said.