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Court to decide in 2 weeks where Arroyo must be detained

MANILA – The Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 112, the court hearing the electoral sabotage case of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, is now deliberating where the former head of state should be detained.

Arroyo’s lawyers have asked the court to let her stay in her La Vista residence while state lawyers want her to stay in a government facility.

RTC Judge Jesus Mupas of Pasay City Branch 112 Monday toured public hospitals where Arroyo may be detained. Among the facilities inspected were the Veterans Memorial Medical Center and V. Luna General Hospital. The Southern Police District in Taguig City has also prepared a detention cell in their headquarters. Mupas is expected to issue a decision in two weeks time.

Arroyo’s camp however has asked the court to extend her hospital arrest for a few more days because the former President has experienced diarrhea.

At the same time, the former President asked for a house arrest at her residence in La Vista in Quezon City following her confinement in the hospital.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has said that Arroyo’s lawyers must provide more bases to justify a request for house arrest. She said it is not enough to say that they prefer house arrest for the former President just because of her status as former President.

Government lawyers have moved for the immediate transfer of Mrs. Arroyo to a “detention facility.”

Atty. Maria Juna Velez has said that considering there is already admission that Mrs. Arroyo is already medically fit, the government position is that she should immediately be transferred to a detention facility.

Commission on Elections chair Sixto Brillantes said Arroyo should be detained in a government facility and not in a private hospital or her residence. Brillantes said he prefers the Southern Police District detention facility because it is within the jurisdiction of the court.

The Arroyo camp however cited security concerns for the former President.  Atty. Raul Lambino said Mrs. Arroyo said there are security risks involved considering there are reports that many are angry with her.

Arroyo’s three doctors were summoned last Friday to court to determine the former President’s medical condition. Arroyo has been staying and eventually came under hospital arrest at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City where she is being treated for her bone mineral disorder and hypoparathyroidism.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mario Ver testified that Arroyo was still suffering from lower back pain and that treatment may range from “days” to “weeks.” Ver however said that her continued treatment could be done on an outpatient basis.