Prosecutors want GMA in regular jail

Posted at 10/09/12 7:19 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Prosecutors in the plunder case of  former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo wants her detained in a regular jail.

Prosecution Bureau II Director Diosdado Calonge said they will ask the court to direct Arroyo to produce convincing proof that she really needs hospitalization. Otherwise, she has to be sent to a regular jail, the lead prosecutor added.

"What's sauce for the goose should also be sauce for the gander. There should be no special treatment. Anyway, she has been previously discharged (from the hospital) at the advice of her doctors," the prosecutor said.

The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan issued arrest warrants last Wednesday afternoon against Arroyo and other respondents who are facing plunder charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman on the alleged misuse of P366 million PCSO funds.

The Arroyo camp argued, however, that the incumbent Pampanga representative’s life will be in danger if she is transferred to a jail.

"Accused GMA (Arroyo) is not medically fit to be detained in a non-medical facility. (She) pleads that as she faces the charges against her, she be accorded full opportunity to restore her health so that she may properly defend herself," the lawyers said in a pleading filed late Monday.

The lawyers said she is no longer a flight risk, as feared by some, considering her medical condition and a standing hold departure order (HDO). They said an escape is "highly improbable or almost impossible.”

In their motion, the lawyers cited the dates and the number of times of her hospitalization. They said she had various ailments, including: recurrent spine problem, hypertension, dehydration, drastic weight loss and inability to swallow.

If not given regular medical care, Arroyo could be disabled or be at risk of “sudden death.”

Court issues alias warrants

Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan issued alias warrants against other respondents in the case who allegedly were not in their residential addresses at the time the arrest orders were issued.

Atty. Ruth Ferrer, Legal Division head of the Sandiganbayan, explained that the alias warrants will replace the warrants and shall remain in effect until the accused are already under the court’s jurisdiction.

"It appearing that efforts to implement the Warrant of Arrest against Ma. Fatima A.S. Valdez, Reynaldo A. Villar, Manuel L. Morato and Jose R. Taruc were futile since the aforesaid accused are apparently not in their respective addresses, let alias warrant of arrest issue against them," the court declared in a single-page resolution.