SC session resumes May 31

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) is set to resume session next Tuesday, May 31, after a month-long decision-writing recess.

An insider yesterday said the justices are set to tackle pleadings filed during the break, including the motion of detained former president and re-elected Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo seeking resolution of her plea for house arrest.

In her motion, Arroyo insisted on her appeal for house arrest pending resolution of her bail petition in the remaining plunder case against her before the Sandiganbayan involving the P366-million Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) fund anomaly.

The former leader lamented that the high court has not resolved the motion for house arrest she filed in December last year.

She reiterated her plea to be transferred from “hospital arrest” at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City to “house arrest” at their residence in La Vista Subdivision in the same city.

Arroyo’s latest appeal came after the high court granted her pleas for several furloughs.

Last December, the SC granted the ailing former leader a holiday furlough and allowed her to spend Christmas and New Year with her family in their house in La Vista.

In March, the high tribunal also allowed her to celebrate her 69th birthday with her family in the same residence last April 5.

For the third time, the SC granted relief to Arroyo earlier this month and allowed her to vote in her home province of Pampanga during elections last May 9. The high court also granted her plea to undergo dental procedures for four days at the clinic of her dentist in Makati City.

The high tribunal earlier stopped the trial of Arroyo in the remaining plunder case against her through a status quo ante order on the proceedings before the First Division of the anti-graft court pending its resolution of her bail petition. The order has been extended three times and will remain in effect until June 20.

The SC is also set to tackle the petition filed last May 18 by former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair and senatorial candidate Francis Tolentino seeking to stop the proclamation of winners in the senatorial race, where he placed 13th, following allegations of cheating in the canvass of votes.

Tolentino also asked the SC to order the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to open the automated election system to forensic audit and investigation on what he branded as “unauthorized manipulation” made by system provider Smartmatic.

The source, however, said this petition could be dismissed for being moot since the Comelec has proclaimed all 12 winners in the senatorial race.

The high court is also expected to act on the petition filed by Rizalito David questioning the Senate Electoral Tribunal ruling that junked his disqualification case against Sen. Grace Poe in the 2013 polls.

David recently filed a manifestation urging the high court to hold oral arguments on the case after resetting it last January to give way to the resolution of the disqualification case against Poe in the presidential election.

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