Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo finally left Veterans Memorial Medical Center Monday night, ending her almost five years of hospital arrest in the said facility.
This comes two days after the Supreme Court dismissed for insufficient evidence the plunder case against her in connection to the alleged misuse of P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds.
Although it has been two days since the SC announced its dismissal of Arroyo’s plunder case, the full text of the 48-page decision was only released this afternoon. Shortly after copies of the verdict was released, Arroyo’s lawyers rushed to the Sandiganbayan First Division.
The division’s three justices in turn composed a minute resolution ordering the Philippine National Police (PNP) to immediately free the former President from her hospital detention. “In view (of the SC decision), accused Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aguas are hereby ordered released from detention immediately, unless they are being held in custody for other reasons not related to this case,” the resolution said.
It was signed by First Division chairman Associate Justice Efren Dela Cruz, sitting member Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, and junior member Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg.
Arroyo was first detained at the said facility from December 2011 to July 2012 because of electoral sabotage in connection to the conduct of the 2007 midterm elections in Maguindanao.
A lower court judge eventually granted her bail because of weak evidence. Her freedom proved to be short-lived because just three months later, she was arrested again but this time, it was in connection to the PCSO plunder case.
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) July 21, 2016