Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gloria Arroyo Posts P1-Million Bail, Goes to Tagaytay for Healing

Gloria Arroyo Posts P1-Million Bail, Goes to Tagaytay for Healing

Former Philippines President and now Pampanga 2nd district Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo post bail on election fraud charges on Wednesday and walked out of an army hospital where she had been detained since December.

But Arroyo could soon be back in detention with government lawyers seeking another arrest warrant from the anti-graft court, Sandiganbayan, over plunder charges involving the misuse of state lottery funds, a non-bailable criminal offence.

Arroyo is also facing a graft charge over an aborted $329 million national broadband deal with China's ZTE Corp. in 2007. She denies all the charges.

Arroyo's corruption trial is central to President Benigno Aquino's pledge to tackle endemic graft that threatens to take the shine away from an economic revival and investment rebound in the Philippines.

"The fight against corruption continues," Aquino's spokesman Edwin Lacierda told reporters after Arroyo was granted a 1 million pesos bail. "This will not dampen our resolve to file and continue to institute corruption cases against responsible officials."

The Philippine's anti-graft court on Tuesday issued a travel ban, the third such order that will prevent Arroyo leaving the country for treatment for a spinal problem.

The 65-year-old Arroyo, president from 2001 to 2010, walked out the hospital wearing a neck brace and gray dress, and was driven home in a white van.

Television footage briefly showed her smiling and waving to supporters as her convoy made its way to her house.

A regional trial court granted her bail on the electoral fraud case because it found the evidence against her to be weak, based only on the testimony of a single witness. But the bail petition of other accused -- Andal Ampatuan, former governor of the southern province of Maguindanao, and election official Lintang Bedol - were denied.

Ampatuan is facing 57 murder charges for his role in what was the country's worst politically-motivated killings in 2009, when relatives of his political rival, civilians, and about 30 journalists were brutally killed.

Arroyo has already posted bail on three counts of graft charges over allegations she and her husband got $30 million in kickbacks from the ZTE broadband deal.
Many fear she might escape prosecution once she leaves detention. In November 2011, she attempted to leave for Hong Kong for treatment but was stopped at the airport by government agents. Days later, she was arrested on election fraud charges.

Arroyo, a sitting member of the lower house of Congress, will have to get permission from three separate courts before travelling abroad.

Meanwhile, Arroyo went to Tagaytay City this morning to seek treatment from an alternative medicine facility owned by a certan Dr. Antonia Park in Barangay San Jose.

Park is known in the area for her expertise in herbal medicine. Reports said she usually entertains at least 30 patients in a day.

Arroyo reportedly arrived at the treatment facility at around 9 a.m. She was seen accompanied by her personal nurse and some staff members.

Barangay San Jose chairman Cecilia Bayas, also a patient of Park, confirmed that Mrs. Arroyo is now inside the facility.

Locals said they saw Mrs. Arroyo wearing her neck brace.

The treatment facility’s staff members declined to give any information on the former president’s stay inside the facility.

Arroyo will allegedly stay inside the facility until Sunday.



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