Pasay RTC Issues Warrant of Arrest vs Gloria Arroyo

The Pasay Regional Trial Court on Friday issued a warrant of arrest against former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and several others in connection with the electoral sabotage charges filed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) earlier.

Arrest WarrantAccording to ABS-CBN’s Atom Araullo, the Pasay RTC has turned over the arrest warrant to the Pasay police for it to be formally served to the ex-president.

Former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., former Comelec provincial election supervisor Lintang Bedol, and former Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos are reportedly included in the case for alleged fraud in the 2007 elections.

Electoral sabotage is a non-bailable offense which carries a penalty of life imprisonment.

Voting 5-2, the Comelec en banc, reportedly on the basis of a recommendation by a joint DOJ-Comelec panel, ruled in favor of filing an electoral sabotage case against Mrs. Arroyo and the aforementioned respondents for the purported cheating in the 2007 polls.

Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes, commissioners Elias Yusoph, Rene Sarmiento, Gus Lagman and Robert Lim voted in favor of the filing. Those who did not vote were commissioners Armando Velasco and Lucenito Tagle, both Arroyo appointees.

In a press conference held Friday afternoon, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima revealed that she has consulted President Benigno Aquino III on actions to be taken by the government.

According to De Lima, the President has instructed her to give Mrs. Arroyo “utmost courtesy.” The DOJ secretary added that the government “does not object a hospital arrest” for Arroyo in consideration of her health condition.

Meanwhile, Supreme Court administrator and spokesman Atty. Midas Marquez in a separate press briefing said that because of the arrest warrant issued by the Pasay RTC against Arroyo, the former president cannot leave the country in spite of the existing Temporary Restraining Order issued by the High Tribunal on the DOJ’s Watch List Order against her and the former first gentleman Mike Arroyo.

Marquez clarified that the TRO still stands which means Mr. Arroyo can travel abroad but the former president is barred.

The Arroyo camp, on the other hand, has informed NAIA personnel of the cancellation of the former first couple’s scheduled flight for Singapore at 5:45 Friday afternoon.

Radio and television reports said that NBI officials arrived at St. Lukes Medical Center in Taguig, where the former president is confined, to enforce the arrest warrant.

The arrest warrant was served to Arroyo at around 6:30 p.m. Friday. The PNP said that the “police booking” (taking of mug shots, finger printing, etc.) will be done on Saturday, November 19.