Philippine court lets Arroyo stay in hospital

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Philippine court lets Arroyo stay in hospital

A Philippine lower court permitted former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to stay at a Manila hospital until she is fit to be transferred to a detention facility.

By (AP)

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Published: Mon 21 Nov 2011, 12:18 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:20 AM

MANILA - A Philippine lower court on Monday permitted former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, under arrest on charges of electoral sabotage, to stay at a Manila hospital until she is fit to be transferred to a detention facility.

Arroyo, 64, president from 2001-2010 and now a member of the lower house of Congress, remained under heavy guard while her lawyers appealed her case to the Pasay City regional trial court.

“The court has agreed to a temporary hospital arrest due to her health conditions and for humanitarian reasons,” clerk of court Jose Pelicano told reporters after the court postponed to Friday a hearing on the motions filed by Arroyo’s lawyers.

Pelicano said the court made the decision even before the former president’s lawyers filed a motion seeking to keep Arroyo at the hospital. A doctor from the national police had a similar recommendation after examining her on Saturday.

“The court will still look at the merits of her lawyer’s petition to put her under hospital arrest. If the government has no objection, then the court will issue an order. Now, the arrangement is temporary based on humanitarian grounds.”

Arroyo was arrested at a Manila hospital on Friday on charges of electoral sabotage in 2007 elections. She had been there since Tuesday night, when the government stopped her from boarding a flight at the airport.

Arroyo has denied the allegations against her. She says she needs to travel to seek medical treatment for a spine condition. The government believes she wants to evade investigation and possible prosecution.

Pelicano said Arroyo’s lawyers had filed motions that would stop a hold departure order being issued, cancel her arrest warrant and even dismiss the charges.

One of Arroyo’s lawyers is Jose Flaminiano, who defended former president Joseph Estrada in his plunder trial from 2001-2007. Arroyo pardoned Estrada after he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Flaminiano said the government and the court had acted with undue haste in issuing the arrest warrant for Arroyo, but the court clerk said correct procedure was followed.

“There was no pressure, there was no influence from the government to hasten the issuance of an arrest warrant,” Pelicano said.


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