Jail readied for GMA

Jail readied for GMA | pinas balita
Manila Bulletin  *Original Link

MANILA, Philippines — A temporary detention facility, measuring four by 10 meters, is now ready for former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is under arrest on election sabotage charges, just in case St. Luke’s Medical Center doctors give the go signal for her transfer to the police headquarters, the Southern Police District (SPD) said Sunday.
Senior Superintendent James Bucayu, SPD officer-in-charge, said the district has converted its media lounge/public information office as temporary detention facility for the former Chief Executive, who was placed under hospital arrest last Friday after she was served an arrest warrant.
Judge Jesus Mupas of the Pasay Regional Trial Court, Branch 112, issued the warrant of arrest after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) filed electoral sabotage charges against Mrs. Arroyo, former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., and Lintang Bedol, provincial election supervisor of Maguindanao.
Bucayu said the room has its own kitchen sink, bed, table, and air-conditioning unit. A rest room, located outside the facility, will also be provided for Mrs. Arroyo’s personal use.
“The room will be very simple, hindi (not) luxurious. It (room) will serve as a temporary detention facility for the former President,” Bucayu added.
Bucayu said once Mrs. Arroyo is transferred to the facility, she will be like an ordinary person with no VIP (very important person) treatment. He added that security will be tight outside the premises.
To ensure that Mrs. Arroyo’s health will not be put at risk, the SPD will allow doctors and nurses to visit her and check on her condition. Immediate family members may also visit her.
Bucayu said the lawyers of Mrs. Arroyo may also formally file a petition for hospital arrest to avoid being taken to the SPD headquarters.
But for the meantime, Bucayu said, Mrs. Arroyo has to stay at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City due to her poor medical condition.
“We sent an expert from our health service last Saturday and he told us that she (Mrs. Arroyo) can’t yet be transferred (to the detention facility) due to her poor physical condition. Hindi pa niya kaya,” he said.
“But once she improves, she will be transferred to the SPD facility.”
During a press briefing last Saturday, Dr. Juliet Cervantes, Arroyo’s personal physician, told reporters that Mrs. Arroyo will have to stay in the hospital for a few more weeks as she is suffering from hypoparathyroid disease.
She disclosed that doctors at the hospital are still monitoring the condition of Mrs. Arroyo due to her delicate condition.
Cervantes said Mrs. Arroyo has not been eating properly and has been very weak due to stress.
Bucayu said at least 14 policemen from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and Taguig City Police are still assigned to St. Luke’s as part of the tight security.
He said two of the 14 policemen are assigned outside Arroyo’s hospital room. He said visitors are required to sign the logbook first.
The hospital also assigned dozens of private security guards inside and outside the facility as part of the tight security measure.
Because of her medical condition, Bishop Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)-Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC), is not opposed to the idea of placing the former President under hospital or even house arrest.
“I think for humanitarian reasons, that should be provided and also because of our jail system. You cannot put her in our jail given the kind of jail that we have,” Diamante said.
As this developed, Presidential Undersecretary for Political Affairs Chito Gascon told reporters that President Benigno S. Aquino III is not keen on granting a presidential pardon on Mrs. Arroyo should she be convicted on election sabotage charges.
President Aquino will not do what his predecessor did in the case of former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada who, after being convicted for plunder and meted with a penalty of life sentence, was pardoned by Mrs. Arroyo, Gascon said.
Meanwhile, the government is still open to hear the testimony of former poll official Virgilio Garcillano on alleged electoral fraud during the past administration if he decides to come out, a Palace official said.
As the government prepares for a legal battle against former President Arroyo on poll sabotage charges, Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said it is up to Garcillano and other possible witnesses if they want to testify and shed light on alleged electoral fraud. (With reports from Leonard D. Postrado, Leslie Ann G. Aquino, and Genalyn D. Kabiling)

Most Reading