PNP tightens security as Arroyo set to be arraigned

Posted at 10/28/2012 1:43 PM | Updated as of 10/29/2012 8:13 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- Malacanang said it will monitor closely former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s arraignment on Monday.

In an interview with radio dzRB, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Philippine National Police (PNP) will ensure security tomorrow, as rallies are expected to be mounted as a show of support for Arroyo, who is facing plunder charges before the Sandiganbayan.

“The PNP will be on hand. Everything will go well. They will ensure peace and security [around the vicinity],” she said.

Tight security will be implemented both at the Sandiganbayan and the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) for the scheduled arraignment.

Bomb experts from the Explosives and Ordnance Divisions of the National Capital Region Police Office and the Quezon City Police District will be deployed inside and outside the anti-graft court.

The Police Security Protection Group, meanwhile, will provide close-in security for the former president.

Police officers will secure the vicinity of the Sandiganbayan and the route that the former president will be taking for her scheduled court appearance.

Police said they would be on guard against groups, both supportive and critical of Arroyo, that might take advantage of the situation.

Policemen will also patrol major intersections along the route that Arroyo’s convoy will be taking in going to the court.

Lawmen are also ready to control the crowd in case protesters force their way toward the Sandiganbayan and the VMMC. The hospital’s presidential suite will be under heavy guard while Arroyo is out of the hospital.

Sandiganbayan spokesman Renato Bocar earlier said Arroyo’s arraignment would proceed as scheduled unless the Supreme Court (SC) issues a temporary restraining order (TRO).

Earlier, the former president filed a petition for certiorari before the SC questioning her indictment before the First Division of the anti-graft court. She wanted the SC to issue a TRO to stop the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan from proceeding with the plunder case.

VMMC director Nona Legaspi has also said the former president would be brought to the anti-graft court regardless of her medical condition. – with reports from Reinir Padua, Philippine Star