Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been detained at the Veterans hospital in Quezon City since 2011. photo
GMA rejects Rody pardon
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - May 24, 2016 - 12:00am

Arroyo won’t plead guilty to plunder

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Incoming president Rodrigo Duterte offered to pardon Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but the former chief executive declined the offer because it requires pleading guilty to plunder.

Duterte disclosed his offer at a press conference in this city last night.

Arroyo, who has been reelected for a third and final term as congressional representative of Pampanga’s second district, is being held without bail at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center while being tried for the alleged misuse of P365 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office when she was president.

Duterte noted that among the respondents in the case, only Arroyo remained in detention and he felt pity for the ailing lawmaker.

He said he had talked to Arroyo and offered pardon, but she told him she did not want to plead guilty to plunder.

“I’m ready to grant pardon to Arroyo,” Duterte told the media. “I said when I become president I will pardon her. I said I want to grant her pardon not because she is my friend but because I don’t think there is a good case against her.”

In Manila, reelected Mayor Joseph Estrada yesterday urged Duterte to allow Arroyo to be placed under house arrest.

When Estrada was held without bail for plunder after his ouster as president, he was also detained in the same government hospital before being moved to a bungalow at a police camp in Laguna and then to his resthouse in Rizal.

Following his conviction after six years in detention in 2007, Arroyo immediately pardoned him. He did not spend a single moment in a national prison.

Estrada said the Supreme Court should grant Arroyo’s petition for house arrest, citing her health condition.

During the campaign, Duterte said he was in favor of house arrest for Arroyo.

Duterte said he would not object if the court would approve Arroyo’s appeal.

Arroyo has been detained at the Veterans hospital in Quezon City since 2011.

The 69-year-old lawmaker is also facing charges of electoral sabotage before the Pasay City Regional Trial Court.

Estrada said Arroyo should be placed under house arrest for humanitarian reasons.

“She is not a flight risk,” Estrada said.  

The mayor lamented that outgoing President Aquino continues to ignore appeals for house arrest for Arroyo.

Last week, Arroyo asked the high court to rule on her petition for house arrest. – With Jose Rodel Clapano

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