- The Supreme Court (SC) has acquitted former president, now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of plunder charges
- The high tribunal found evidence against Mrs. Arroyo weak
- After almost 4 years of hospital arrest, Mrs. Arroyo will now be set free to serve as representative of Pampanga
The Supreme Court (SC) has acquitted former President now Pampanga representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of plunder charges and has issued a motion for her release after nearly four years of hospital arrest.
The decision which came out Tuesday, July 19 granted Arroyo’s appeal to drop the plunder charges against her. Mrs. Arroyo will be released from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, her detention place since October of 2012.
The high court ruled in favor of Arroyo's petition to discard Sandiganbayan's ruling that gave the green light for her plunder trial where she was accused of misusing PCSO funds. Inside sources say that the vote was 11-4 in favor of Mrs. Arroyo.
Ferdinand Topacio, Arroyo's lawyer, said in a statement that the Supreme Court has proven itself to be the final bastion of justice and the rule of law.
"Its ruling today has validated what we have been saying for six years now: that the charges against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are nothing more than disingenuous attempts at political persecution by a corrupt and inept Aquino administration intent on covering up its gross lack of accomplishments by harassing its political opponents.", he added.
Arroyo is the second Philippine President to be detained for plunder. In 2001, Arroyo's predecessor, Joseph Estrada was impeached for plunder and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Later on, President Arroyo pardoned him.
The decision came out barely a month after former president Benigno Aquino III stepped down, and a week before new President Rody Duterte delivers his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Of the 15 sitting justices, 9 of which are appointees of Arroyo during her administration. These justices are: Antonio Carpio, Presbitero Velasco Jr, Teresita de Castro, Arturo Brio, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza.
It was through veteran lawyer Estelito Mendoza that Arroyo was able to petition a plea of "demurrer to evidence" to the Supreme Court. This plea to dismiss a case due to weak evidence was earlier rejected by the Sandiganbayan hence followed by Arroyo's appeal to the higher court challenging the Sandiganbayan ruling with a 100-page petition filed by Mendoza. -Kami Media