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Sandiganbayan urged to junk new GMA bail plea.

Manila, Philippines --- Anti-graft prosecutors yesterday asked the Sandiganbayan to reject the new appeal of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to be freed on bail, saying that granting the motion would violate the equal protection clause provided for in the 1987 Constitution.

Ombudsman lawyers said Arroyo's claim that she is sick and not a flight risk should not be given precedence over accusations that she is being given special treatment.

A seven-page comment/opposition was filed by the Office of the Ombudsman to object to the supplemental motion for reconsideration filed by lawyer Jose Flaminiano, collaborating defense counsel of Arroyo.

Filed on February 18, the second motion for reconsideration was filed after a panel of five under the Sandiganbayan First Division denied for a second time Arroyo's motion for bail.

In their opposition, Assistant Special Prosecutors Julieta Zinnia A. Niduaza, Gidget Rose V. Duque and Honorio C. Ebora Jr. said there is no law that gives Arroyo a distinction over any other detainees even if she is a former President.

The Ombudman prosecutors invoked the pronouncements of the Sandiganbayan in its February 19, 2014 resolution that Arroyo's depression because of her detention does not merit her release on bail, especially because she is charged with the capital offense of plunder.

"...(T)he state of being a non-flight risk is immaterial and irrelevant when the case is non-bailable, (especially) when the offense involved is a capital offense and the evidence of guilt is strong," the prosecution said.

Doctors at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center have disclosed that Arroyo has been losing weight due to a recurrent dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing solid food.

Guests visiting Arroyo have noticed the sharp drop in her weight that they have aired serious concern over the state of her health.

Her doctors believe that a change of environment, especially one where she will be cared for by her loved ones, may help Arroyo recover.


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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Mar 12, 2014
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