CGMA asks court for house arrest

November 26, 2011 12:59 am 

MANILA, Nov. 25 — The camp of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Friday asked the Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC), where she is facing electoral sabotage charges, to allow her to be placed under house after she has been deemed fit to leave the hospital where she is staying.

Mrs. Arroyo’s lawyer Jose Flaminiano asked Pasay RTC Branch 112 Judge Jesus Mupas to place the former leader under house arrest instead of the current hospital arrest at the St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig City.

This development came after one of Arroyo’s attending physicians, orthopedic surgeon Mario Ver told the court that the former leader could leave the hospital anytime after she was hospitalized for elevated blood pressure last week.

Ver said Mrs. Arroyo’s condition "continues to improve after undergoing three surgeries to correct a pinched nerve on her spine last August."

A medical report submitted Thursday by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo, signed by Senior Superintendent Herminigilda Salangad of the National Capital Region Police Office’s Regional Health Service, said the "overall assessment of Arroyo’s medical status has significantly improved."

The 64-year old Arroyo has been staying at St. Lukes since Nov. 15 after she and her husband, former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, were prevented by Immigration authorities from leaving the country ostensibly to seek medical treatment abroad.

Flaminiano said they are withdrawing their earlier motion for continued hospital arrest of Arroyo and instead asked the court for house arrest.

This resulted in an argument as lawyers for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) led by Atty. Maria Juana Vaneza countered that Mrs. Arroyo be transferred to a government hospital such as the National Orthopedic Center.

To end the verbal clash, Judge Mupas ordered a 10-minute recess to decide whether to grant the motion of the defense.

Two other physicians — Juliet Gopez-Cervantez and Roberto Mirasol — were not able to take the witness stand after Arroyo’s lawyer said the testimony of Dr. Ver is enough.

The court earlier summoned Ver, Gopez-Cervantez and endocrinologist Mirasol to shed light on Arroyo’s health condition and help the court decide on whether or not to allow the latter to remain under hospital arrest until she has fully recovered.

Arroyo’s legal spokesperson, Raul Lambino, said they will respect whatever is the court’s decision even as he pointed out that the government earlier posed no objection to either hospital or house arrest.

“We are requesting a reasonable number of days for her to get her things at the hospital,” he said.

To formalize their request, Lambino said they would file next week a motion for house arrest.

For his part, Pasay RTC Branch 112 Clerk of court Atty. Joel Pelicano said the former president will remain in the hospital until the resolution of the motions of the parties.

In a related development, Pelicano said they will inspect on Monday the detention room prepared by the Southern Police District (SPD) at its headquarters in Fort Bonifacio to see if it is suitable.

The room measures three by six meters and aside from a bed and pillow has no other furniture or amenities except for a kitchen sink with running water from a faucet and comfort room. (PNA)

scs/CLTC

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