Arroyo files motion for bail

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

SUSPENDED Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo filed on Wednesday a motion for bail in the plunder case she is facing over alleged misuse of P366-million in confidential intelligence fund (CIF) of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) during her term as President.

Arroyo's legal counsel Modesto Ticman said the former President's continued hospital detention is affecting her overall health.

In her third motion filed before the Sandiganbayan first division, Ticman cited that the lawmaker is also suffering depression and staying inside the hospital only worsened her disease.

The court had denied the first two motions.

The Pampanga lawmaker who is now detained in the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City is accused of defrauding the government of P366-million through unlawful transfer of confidential and intelligence funds of the PCSO from January 2008 to June 2010.

"Accused is reiterating that the court grant her bail because her continued confinement at the VMMC has not contributed to the improvement of her medical condition but has in fact exacerbated the same… the adverse and negative effects of depression that are being brought about by her hospital incarceration continues to take its toll on her health," the motion read.

The case stemmed from the plunder complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman by Jaime Regalario of Kilusang Makabang Ekonomiya, former Akbayan party-list representative Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel and former Bureau of Customs deputy commissioner for intelligence Danilo Lim last July 26, 2011.

Arroyo is suffering from cervical spondylosis, a degenerative disease of the bones and cartilage of the neck and had undergone three surgeries since 2011.

The motion also said that Arroyo should be granted bail because her other co-accused were also allowed to do so.

Last May, prosecution witness Commission on Audit (COA) Intelligence and Confidential Fund Audit Unit (ICFAU) chief Flerida Africa Jimenez in a hearing before the anti-graft court has virtually cleared Arroyo, saying the former President was not a recipient of the fund and that "she is not the accountable officer for it."

Jimenez said Arroyo does not appear to be the recipient of the CIF released to the PCSO from 2008 to 2010 and that she is not the accountable public officer on the stated account.

The ICFAU is the office that audits specifically all the CIFs of all government agencies.

Arroyo's co-accused in the plunder case are former PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte, former chairpersons Sergio Valencia and Manuel Morato, former directors Raymundo Roquero, Fatima Valdes and Jose Taruc V, former COA chairman Reynaldo Villar and former COA-Intelligence Fund Unit head Nilda Plaras.

Valencia, Morato, Roquero, Taruc and Villar were granted bail while Valdes remains at large. Villar, who was arrested recently, is waiting for the resolution of his bail petition while Plaras was able to secure an injunction from the Supreme Court in relation to her case. She continues to work at the COA as a director.

Only Arroyo and Aguas are in jail after their bail petitions were denied.

On Tuesday, the Sandiganbayan fourth division has issued a 90-day preventive suspension against Arroyo, this time in connection with the graft charges over the NBN-ZTE deal controversy.

The former President is charged with two counts of graft and one count of violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees for allegedly having unlawful interest in the NBN project and for using the power of the presidency to push for the approval of the proposal submitted by the ZTE Corporation. (Sunnex)

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