Arroyo now very frail – lawyer

Posted at 10/08/12 1:30 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A “much, much thinner” former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will remain at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center as her lawyers find ways to quash the plunder charges filed before the Sandiganbayan.

In an interview with ANC, lawyer Anacleto Diaz said: “I’m no doctor, but I’ve seen her deterioration.” He said he heard doctors there talking about Arroyo losing 35 pounds.

Diaz said Arroyo already expected the Sandiganbayan to quash her motion for reconsideration on the arrest it issued last week in connection with the plunder raps filed by the Office of the Ombudsman on the alleged misuse of P366 million Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds.

“She was saddened…but she already expected this,” he said.

He said the Sandiganbayan has already “definitely” resolved earlier pleas to determine first whether or not the plunder charges would stand considering there was not enough evidence.

Despite this impasse, the Arroyo camp plans to file a bail petition on the non-bailable charges. “Even in non-bailable offenses, the accused is given an option to file if she believes the evidence is not strong,” he said.

He said they will also ask the anti-graft court to order the Ombudsman to attach a resolution by a panel that had earlier recommended only a lower offense of technical malversation and violation of anti-graft laws.

While the Ombudsman has a final say on the filing of charges, it should have attached the recommendatory resolution of its special prosecutors.

“Even the Office of the Special Prosecutor has acknowledged they don’t have a copy of the panel’s resolution,” he said.

The panel’s resolution would show “that there’s no legal basis to try the case of plunder,” Diaz said.