MANILA — Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is already eagerly awaiting a Pasay court’s decision on her petition to be granted bail in relation to her poll sabotage case, her lawyer said, according to a report published in the GMA News, Thursday.
Lawyer Benjamin Santos, Arroyo’s counsel, said the former Philippine leader thinks that the bail hearings at the Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 112 are already taking much time.
“She feels the hearings are already taking too long, but we told her that the prosecution is being given the right to prove that its evidence is strong,” Santos told reporters at the sidelines of the court proceedings.
Arroyo, who is currently under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City, is being accused of ordering the rigging of the senatorial polls during her incumbency in 2007. She had pleaded not guilty to the electoral fraud case.
Arroyo now represents the second legislative district of Pampanga in the House of Representatives.
Although electoral sabotage is a non-bailable offense, the former president may still be freed provisionally on bail if the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the complainant in the case, fails to establish her connection in the alleged fraud.
Santos also opposed the Comelec’s plan to include the testimony of election officer Saliao Amba in its opposition to the former president’s petition for bail.
“Why are they insisting on the inclusion of this testimony? For us, that is just an admission that the evidence they have is not strong,” the lawyer said.
Amba was presented as witness on Thursday by the camp of former Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Bedol, who is facing a separate poll sabotage case.
Lawyer Reynaldo Princesa, Bedol’s counsel, said their camp sought Amba’s testimony to prove that that his client had no direct hand on the alleged rigging of the 2007 polls.
While Amba was at the witness stand, Comelec lawyers moved to adopt the election officer’s testimony as part of its evidence to oppose Arroyo’s bail petition.
Santos, however, immediately blocked the poll body’s move, describing it as “unprocedural” since the poll body had already filed a formal offer of evidence earlier this month. — Agencies