Court of appeal allows former president Arroyo to post bail for election fraud

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Court of Appeals Allows GMA To Post Bail – file photo – www.philippineslifestyle.com

Former Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will soon be allowed to post bail for her part in the connection with an electoral-sabotage case filed against her by the Justice Department.

Arroyo and former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Jr along with former election office Lintang Bedol were charged for staging a 12-0 victory for the administration Team Unity’s senatorial candidates in Maguindanao in the 2007 election polls.

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Former Maguindanao provincial administrator Norie Unas died last last year – he was responsible for implicating Arroyo in the alleged election cheating scandal.

The Special Division of the Court of Appeals denied the Justic Deparment’s motion to reconsider on its earlier ruling affirming a decision on the Pasay City Regional Trial Court allowing Arroyo to post bail for her offense.

Judge Jesus Mupas allowed Gloria Arroyo to post bail after the prosecution failed to convince him that there is strong evidence against the former president.

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The Court of Appeals resolution, penned by Associate Justices Elihu Ybañez, Isaias Dicdican and Victoria Isabel Paredes agreed with the lower court’s decision on the matter.

“We have carefully reviewed the arguments raised in the said motion for reconsideration and find the same to be mere reiteration of matters previously considered and found to be without merit in the decision subject of this recourse. We thus see no compelling reason to modify, reverse or set aside our previous decision,” the resolution read.

“For these reasons, the instant motion for reconsideration is hereby denied,” according to the appellate court.

In its March 24, 2015 decision, the CA said the government has a weak case against Arroyo.

The electoral-sabotage indictment against the former president was filed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and the Commission on Elections then headed by Sixto Brillantes Jr. on November 18, 2011.

The court ruled that the only evidence of the Department of Justice and the Comelec against Arroyo is the testimony of Unas “whose credibility was seen by the trial judge to be tainted with doubt and insufficient to establish a strong evidence of guilt on the part of respondent Arroyo.”

“Consequently, in finding that respondent Arroyo’s evidence of guilt is not strong, the grant of bail now becomes a matter of right. Thus, it cannot be said that the trial judge acted in a capricious, whimsical or despotic manner when he issued the assailed orders granting bail to respondent Arroyo,” the decision read.

“Assuming arguendo that the respondent judge erred in evaluating the evidence during the hearing on the application for bail, certiorari will not lie. As stated earlier, no grave abuse of discretion may be attributed to a court simply because of its alleged wrongful appreciation of facts and evidence. In short, certiorari will issue only to correct errors of jurisdiction, not errors of procedure or mistakes in the findings or conclusions of the lower court,” it said.

Furthermore, the Court of Appeals ruled that no grave abuse of discretion was found from the lower court in allowing Arroyo to post bail.

This was the first case file against Arroyo under the Aquino administration to block what they said was an attempt for the former president to flee the country.

Arroyo has since been posted to the Bureau of Immigration’s “Watchlist Order.”

Gloria Arroyo remains in detention over a plunder case filed against her by the Office of the Ombudsman for her part in the money mishandling of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes.

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