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Palace defers to Pasay court, Comelec prosecutors on Gloria Arroyo detention


Malacañang on Friday said it is up to the Commission on Elections and the Pasay court handling her electoral sabotage case whether she should be detained or be released on bail, like her co-accused former Comelec chair Benjamin Abalos. 
 
"That is entirely within the jurisdiction and the discretion of the presiding judge of Pasay RTC 112," Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a briefing with reporters.  
 
"It will be the Comelec or the side of the former President. It will be up to them whether they will move for house arrest. I understand that they have a pending petition for bail. We defer to the comelec panel who is handling the prosecution. We will defer to the presiding judge of Pasay 112 as to what will be their decision on the petition for bail," she said. 
 
Valte said this in light of Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda's statement the other day that Arroyo's continued stay at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City should be examined.
 
Arroyo has been under hospital arrest at the VMMC since December last year on account of her health issues. The Commission on Elections, which is prosecuting Arroyo, moved in January to have her transferred to a regular detention facility, but the Pasay RTC denied Comelec's request, noting that Arroyo was not ready for detention in a regular cell as she still needed to undergo regular physical therapy.
 
Public opinion on Arroyo arrest conditions 
 
Valte refused to comment on the results of a survey which revealed that 61 percent believe Arroyo will granted bail and that 59 percent think she will be put under house arrest.
 
"We cannot comment on the results. We have not seen the survey and we are not familiar with the survey firms, hence we are deferring comment until such time that we do see the actual survey that was done. I don’t know if it is commissioned," Valte said.
 
Former Comelec chair Benjamin Abalos, Arroyo's co-accused, was granted bail earlier this week due to the lack of strong evidence linking him to electoral fraud. 
 
Speaking to reporters, Senator Aquilino Pimentel said he was worried that Abalos' bail might mean Arroyo would be granted the same as he believes that the evidence against Abalos was stronger.
 
Poll sabotage, which Arroyo and Abalos are accused of, is non-bailable unless the evidence of guilt is not strong. — Aileen Estoquia/ELR, GMA News