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Latest News Philippines: GMA OUT ON BAIL –

JUDGE Jesus Mupas of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court yesterday granted former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo provisional liberty after her lawyer posted P1 million bail in connection with the electoral sabotage case against her.

Lawyer Raymond Santos paid the cash bond a few minutes after the court sheriff served the bail resolution to Mrs. Arroyo at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City where she had been under hospital arrest.

Mupas explained in his decision that the prosecution panel of the Comelec failed to establish that there was connivance between Arroyo and her co-accused former poll official Lintang Bedol and former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. in the electoral sabotage case. This is aside from the fact that the testimony of the prosecution witness was weak.

The bail petition of Bedol and Ampatuan Sr. was denied.

Court spokesperson Celda Domingo explained that the court junked the bail petition of both Ampatuan and Bedol because they were directly implicated by prosecution witness Norie Unas in the alleged massive election fraud in 2007.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said Arroyo has no outstanding arrest warrant at the moment but the former president has a hold departure order for plunder.

Arroyo has been under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) for bone ailments since late last year.

After she received the release order, Arroyo went home to La Vista subdivision in Quezon City, her convoy hounded by protesters.

The Commission on Elections meanwhile said the bail grant was “not a setback at all.”

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll commission is still studying “if there is anything that can be done about it, but the bottom line is we are ready to push the case forward.”

Another Arroyo counsel, Ray Montre Santos, said they are not aware if the prosecution will file a motion for reconsideration.

He said that they were really confident their client would get bail because of lack of evidence against her and even see her possible acquittal.

The next pre-trial hearing is on August 23.


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