Out On Bail But Not Out Of The Country

Pasay City RTC clerk of court Felda Domingo presented to the media a copy of the resolution granting bail in favor of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes is baffled by the court decision and said  Arroyo may be allowed to get out on bail but she won’t be able to leave the country, as a hold departure order was issued by the Sandiganbayan against her in the plunder case for the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence funds.

“I know for a fact the Sandiganbayan has already issued a hold departure older in the plunder case. I don’t think she will be able to leave the country, but she’ll be able to go out of the hospital and go home if she wants to,” he said.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said they may file an appeal following the court’s decision favoring Arroyo’s motion for bail.

“We will probably file a motion for reconsideration with the same judge. In the meantime, what we’re trying to verify now if it’s immediately executory or it will not become final until a motion for reconsideration is resolved. Yun lang ho ang gusto naming malaman muna,”

The Comelec chief said if the court’s order is executory and Arroyo immediately posts bail, she may be allowed to go home.

Aside from Arroyo, nine other co-accused in the plunder case who are former officials of the PCSO and the Commission on Audit are included in the hold departure order.

They are:

– Sergio Valencia, former PCSO Chairperson
– Rosario Uriarte, former PCSO General Manager
– Manuel Morato, former PCSO Board Member
– Jose Taruc, former PCSO Board Member
– Raymundo Roquero, former PCSO Board Member
– Ma. Fatima Valdes, former PCSO Board Member
– Benigno Aguas, former PCSO Budget Officer
– Reynaldo Villar, former COA Chairperson
– Nilda Plaras, former COA Intelligence Officer

The order was in connection with the alleged misuse of some P365-million worth of funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) from 2007 to 2010.

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.

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