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FORMER SENATOR JOKER ARROYO DIES AT 88


OCTOBER 7 -JOKER ARROYO
-Former Senator Joker Arroyo died on October 5 following an unsuccessful heart operation in the United States, former Senator Rene Saguisag confirmed Wednesday in an interview on radio dzBB. Saguisag described Arroyo's passing as a "shocker," noting he did not know that Arroyo was brought to the US. He said they last communicated in January this year. "Nabasa ko sa emails ko, hindi nag-succeed 'yung heart operation... Medyo mahirap paniwalaan, napakalakas, young-looking. It was a shocker," Saguisag said. "As of now, basta ang alam natin dinala sa Estados Unidos at doon yumao [si Senator Joker Arroyo]," he added. Last meeting Saguisag said he last met with Arroyo last January during the arrest of suspended Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, their mutual client, over alleged corruption. "Nung arestuhin si Junjun... sinamahan ako ni Joker... In a matter of hours, nakinig si Koko Pimentel at si Sonny Trillanes," Saguisag said of Binay's eventual release. Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III is the chairman of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee that is investigating the alleged corruption involving the Binay family, with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV as one of its members. Arroyo as human rights lawyer Arroyo first made his mark as a human rights lawyer who challenged before the Supreme Court the constitutionality of Proclamation 1081, which imposed Martial Law. During the dictatorship, he also defended several political detainees in court, among them slain Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., former Senators Jovito Salonga, Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr., and Eva Estrada-Kalaw, Eugenio Lopez Jr., Senator Sergio Osmeña III, and Jose Maria Sison. He served as the counsel of Ninoy's widow, Cory, during the 1986 snap elections. With a new government following the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, Cory appointed him as executive secretary. He then went on to become chairman of the Philippine National Bank and executive director for the Philippines at the Asian Development Bank. READ MORE...RELATED, Joker Arroyo: He led fight against Marcos

ALSO: No Senate tribute for Joker Arroyo


OCTOBER 9-THE FAMILY of former Sen. Joker Arroyo has requested that the Senate dispense with its traditional tribute to its deceased members, Senate President Franklin Drilon told reporters Thursday. Arroyo reportedly died at the age of 88 in the United States on Monday of cardiac arrest after undergoing a heart surgery. The family has maintained silence over the reported death of one of the key figures in the dismantling of the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship and the restoration of democracy in the country. “Word has reached me that the family does not want any necrological services in the Senate,” Drilon said. He also said he had received no formal confirmation of Arroyo’s death, but he has nevertheless directed the Senate to fly its flags at half-staff. Drilon said the Senate could always offer a special Mass organized by Arroyo’s employees, but he repeated the family’s preference. Leila B. Salaverria THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: UN group rules Gloria Arroyo's detention violates int'l law - lawyer
[Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she is baffled by the reports. "Based on the news reports I saw earlier, they're saying there is arbitrary detention. I'm wondering why there is such an opinion she is being arbitrarily detained. She's going through the process. We have our Constitution, sinasabi doon pag evidence of guilt is strong, if her detention is sanctioned by law, how can that be arbitrary detention?"]


OCTOBER 8 -Lawyer Amal Clooney and Gloria Arroyo PHILSTAR PHOTO FILE
- Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appears to have won the complaint filed by her lawyer, Amal Alamuddin-Clooney, before the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations Office of the High Commission on Human Rights. The panel, however, has yet to publicly comment on the case. In an email to ABS-CBN News, the Secretariat of the Working Group on Arbitrary detention said, "At this stage the secretariat of the working group only liaises with concerned parties regarding this opinion - i.e the Government and the source." One of Arroyo's Philippine lawyers, Lorenzo Gadon, however, shared with media in a briefing Clooney's e-mailed update regarding the case. The e-mail reads: "In its opinion released on 2 October 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention confirmed that the detention of former president of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal Arroyo violates international law and is arbitrary on a number of grounds." The former president is facing plunder charges in connection with the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds. READ MORE...

ALSO Palace on UN ruling: GMA enjoyed due process
[According to the email sent by Clooney to Arroyo's Philippine lawyer, Larry Gadon, the former president was denied bail on grounds that are not compatible with international law. "...she was denied bail exclusively on the basis of the alleged strength of evidence against her; measures alternative to pre-trial detention were not considered and there were undue delays in considering her bail position in the proceedings against her as a whole," the UN panel said in its opinion released on October 2.]


OCTOBER 8 -Presidential Communication Office Secretary Herminio "Sonny" Coloma Jr. on Thursday clarified that the detention of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo does not violate international law. Philstarm/AJ Bolando| AP, file
The Palace on Thursday insisted that former president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was granted due process, following the United Nations (UN) ruling that her detention violates international law.
"Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been accorded such due process and has availed herself of various legal remedies under Philippine laws," Presidential Communication Office Secretary Herminio "Sonny" Coloma Jr. said in a statement. READ: Lawyer: UN rules GMA detention violates international law Coloma added that there is an ongoing judicial process in the Philippine courts and that they have sole jurisdiction to decide on the matter. "The Philippine government or any international body for that matter, cannot interfere nor influence the course of an independent judicial proceeding," Coloma said. READ MORE...

ALSO: UN backs GMA, World body says PH violated int’l laws; Sandigan says it’s not legally binding

["Nung makausap ko si GMA kahapon, binista ko siya tuwang tuwa siya sapagkat finally na-recognize ang kaniyang karapatan lalo pa ito UN, natutuwa at nagpapasalamat siya sa desisyon." Gadon revealed Arroyo now suffers from inability to properly move her left arm. GMA's lawyer Gadon said this is why Arroyo's lawyers have asked the Sandiganbayan to allow her to have a medical check up at St. Luke's Medical Center.]


OCTOBER 7-GMA
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UN WGAD) has declared that the Philippine government violated international laws for the continued “arbitrary and illegal” detention of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Amal Alamuddin Clooney, wife of popular American actor George Clooney, relayed the information to the camp of the former President. Clooney was responsible in calling international attention on the plight of Arroyo by filing a complaint against President Aquino and the Philippine government before the UN. However, Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that while Malacañang respects the opinion of the UN WGAD, it disputed the findings that Arroyo’s continued detention is “arbitrary and illegal.” He added that neither the government nor any international organization could meddle with the legal matters involving the former President. NOT LEGALLY BINDING Even the Sandiganbayan said that the UN cannot pressure the anti-graft court to act favorably on Arroyo’s case as its opinion is not legally binding. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Ex-Sen. Joker Arroyo dies at age 88


JOKER ARROYO

MANILA, OCTOBER 12, 2015 (GMA NEWS NETWORK)  October 7, 2015 12:48pm -Former Senator Joker Arroyo died on October 5 following an unsuccessful heart operation in the United States, former Senator Rene Saguisag confirmed Wednesday in an interview on radio dzBB.

Saguisag described Arroyo's passing as a "shocker," noting he did not know that Arroyo was brought to the US. He said they last communicated in January this year.

"Nabasa ko sa emails ko, hindi nag-succeed 'yung heart operation... Medyo mahirap paniwalaan, napakalakas, young-looking. It was a shocker," Saguisag said.

"As of now, basta ang alam natin dinala sa Estados Unidos at doon yumao [si Senator Joker Arroyo]," he added.

Last meeting

Saguisag said he last met with Arroyo last January during the arrest of suspended Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, their mutual client, over alleged corruption.

"Nung arestuhin si Junjun... sinamahan ako ni Joker... In a matter of hours, nakinig si Koko Pimentel at si Sonny Trillanes," Saguisag said of Binay's eventual release.

Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III is the chairman of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee that is investigating the alleged corruption involving the Binay family, with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV as one of its members.

Arroyo as human rights lawyer

Arroyo first made his mark as a human rights lawyer who challenged before the Supreme Court the constitutionality of Proclamation 1081, which imposed Martial Law.

During the dictatorship, he also defended several political detainees in court, among them slain Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., former Senators Jovito Salonga, Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr., and Eva Estrada-Kalaw, Eugenio Lopez Jr., Senator Sergio Osmeña III, and Jose Maria Sison.

He served as the counsel of Ninoy's widow, Cory, during the 1986 snap elections.

With a new government following the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, Cory appointed him as executive secretary. He then went on to become chairman of the Philippine National Bank and executive director for the Philippines at the Asian Development Bank.

READ MORE...

Arroyo as a lawmaker

Arroyo began serving in Congress as the representative of Makati in 1992, where he stayed for three terms.

As his tenure there came to an end, he became lead prosecutor in the impeachment trial of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.

He was elected to the Senate in 2001 and served as chairman of several committees, including the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, until his last term ended in 2013.

At Congress, he was known to be one of its thriftiest members, maintaining this reputation for some 20 years.

At the Senate, his expenses paled in comparison to those of his colleagues. Records from the Commission on Audit in 2010 showed that he spent P16.65 million then. Reports also said he did not collect his share of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). —Amita Legaspi, Rose-An Jessica Dioquino and Rie Takumi/KG/KBK, GMA News

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Joker Arroyo: He led fight against Marcos By: Christine O. Avendaño @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:24 AM October 8th, 2015


JOKER AT ESTRADA IMPEACHMENT TRIAL Then Makati Rep. Joker Arroyo, a former human rights lawyer and President Corazon Aquino’s first executive secretary, into a huddle with senator-judges, defense counsels and fellow prosecutors during the December 2000 impeachment trial of then President Joseph Estrada INQUIRER PHOTO

“TO UNDERSTAND Joker is to understand the wind and the mist.”

This was how former Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. described Sen. Joker Arroyo, who helped bring down two Philippine Presidents—the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, and the accused plunderer Joseph Estrada in 2001.

Arroyo died on Monday in the United States at the age of 88.

A human rights lawyer, Arroyo rose to national consciousness as the first lawyer who challenged before the Supreme Court the constitutionality of Proclamation No. 1081 imposing martial law by Marcos.

He later joined other lawyers in questioning before the high court the ratification of the Marcos-backed 1973 Constitution; Amendment No. 6, which vested lawmaking powers in Marcos alongside the Batasang Pambansa; and the power of military tribunals to try civilians.

Arroyo also helped defend some opposition leaders during the Marcos regime such as the late Sen. Ninoy Aquino, the late Eugenio Lopez Jr., Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Ma. Sison, Sen. Sergio Osmeña III and former Senators Jovito Salonga, Eva Estrada Kalaw and Nene Pimentel.

As a freedom fighter, Arroyo had his share of physical and mental tortures during martial law. He was incarcerated in a military stockade; he was also gassed, injured and hospitalized during protest rallies.

In 2000, Arroyo led the 11-member prosecution panel of the House of Representatives during the impeachment trial of then President Estrada, who was later ousted in the subsequent Edsa II in January 2001.

Arroyo said the impeachment courtroom drama that was beamed live to Filipinos nationwide from Dec. 7, 2000, to Jan. 16, 2001, showed just a fraction of the actual court work. “From the start, we made a statement that a legal battle is 80-90 percent preparation, and 10-20 percent court trial,” he said.

‘Dear friend, mentor’

Villar said he lost a “dear friend and mentor” and that having served the country well, Arroyo “deserved a big thank you from all of us.”

“He was always the maverick. He would be leaving behind a nation that still suffers from the same problems that he liked to rant against with fierce dedication. And now he left us to face all these. Perhaps, the joke is now on us,” Villar said.

Tributes flowed Wednesday for Arroyo, who suffered a heart attack while in San Francisco, where he had undergone last week a bypass and valve repair operation, according to a highly reliable source.

Fellow senators expressed their sentiments as well as shared their memories of Arroyo, who served two terms in the Senate and retired in 2013. But the Senate could not honor him Wednesday, the last session day before it goes on a monthlong recess on Friday.

Because the Arroyo family has not issued an official announcement on his death, Malacañang has withheld, out of respect, a statement on his passing, according to presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said the Senate could not observe Wednesday its traditions bestowed on senators who passed away, such as flying the Philippine flag at half-staff as well as just opening and closing the session.

Drilon could only pay homage to Arroyo, whom he worked with in the Cabinet of the late President Corazon Aquino and in the Senate, saying he was a “brilliant lawyer” who took on strong advocacies.

‘Great Dissenter’

“Joker earned sobriquets in his storied life. The Great Dissenter. The Maverick. The Defender. He was even called The Scrooge for his economical use of office funds,” Sen. Ralph Recto said in a statement.

“But there was one area he didn’t scrimp on. And that was offering his sharp legal mind, for free, to those who need it most but can afford it least,” Recto said.

Recto said Arroyo had a good heart. “His form of exercise was to bend down and pull someone out of the gutter,” the senator said.

When Arroyo was elected to the Senate, Arroyo already had a life’s worth of achievements and great victories won. “This country owes much of its freedom to him as do hundreds whose liberty he secured,” Recto said, referring to Arroyo’s work as a renowned human rights lawyer.

“Joker Arroyo was a patriot first-class. Having walked in his shadows, I will always remember him as a boy in the fable who had the courage and the candor, who never failed and never tired to shout that the emperor was wearing no clothes,” he said.

Opposite sides of fence

Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile said Arroyo was “one of the best senators to come by in the Senate.”

“I’m sad that a colleague like Joker has passed away and carries with him a part of the history of the land because while we were on opposite sides of the fence on some points, we agreed on some points but nonetheless we discussed issues in a very noble manner and according to our own perceptions,” Enrile said.

Enrile recalled he was in government during the martial law years while Arroyo was very active in the opposition, and yet they remained good friends.

The two men eventually ended up as members of the Cabinet of the late President Corazon Aquino.

Eventual friends

In a statement later, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he valued his time with Arroyo in the Senate.

“Considering where we came from, we often found ourselves in agreement over political questions. I think because of this, I dare say we eventually became friends,” said Marcos, whose father declared martial law in 1972 that resulted in widespread human rights violations.

Equally sad was Vice President Jejomar Binay who said Arroyo was a very good friend and a mentor. “I miss him,” Binay told reporters.

Arroyo will leave a “lasting imprint on Philippine politics” because of his colorful personality, wit and deep analyses of issues, according to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

“His words never failed to capture the attention of media and of the general public,” he said. “In his many years in public service, Joker led a life of courage and humility that inspired many,” Belmonte said.

“We thank Joker for his deep dedication to the Philippines and our people. He has left a legacy of staunchness and bravery, which we know shall be emulated by our young lawyers and public servants,” he added.

“Although we were not really related, it was always a source of immense pride for us to share the name of this gallant human rights lawyer, overseer of the restoration of Philippine democracy, and exemplary legislator and public figure,” said former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. “In today’s world of smaller and meaner leaders, this giant of a man will be deeply missed.”

Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe described Arroyo as a “a great Bicolano.”

“He had served as an inspiration to us, martial law babies, to be brave, to fight for our rights and uphold what was right and just during the Marcos regime,” Batocabe said.

Infectious laughter

“I did not agree with many of the positions he took, when he was Executive Secretary to Cory and when he was in Congress. But one thing you cannot take away from Joker: He did his part for people and country, and at a time when it was unfashionable and even extremely dangerous to do so,” said Theodore Te, the Supreme Court spokesperson who first met Arroyo when he joined the Free Legal Assistance Group (Flag) immediately after law school.

He recalled Arroyo as “sharp” and “intimidating,” one who by instinct knew which legal arguments would fly or fizzle.

“He was intimidating. He had a way of asking questions that probed, and probed deeply. And so there was no bluffing your way out,” wrote Te.

He also remembered Arroyo’s hearty laughter: “And if you heard him laugh (hopefully, not at you), it was infectious. It was a belly laugh—a guffaw—one that emerged slowly and then later on continued through several sentences, often fading into chuckles, and many times, even after the joke.”

“Sen. Joker Arroyo is best remembered as a beacon of light and hope for many political detainees and persecuted journalists during martial law. Together with other eloquent legal gladiators of his time, he inspired a generation to be voices in the wilderness amidst repression and to take up the lonely but fulfilling road of standing by those against whom the bad side of the law was used,” said Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers.

Case of Yuyitungs

As a young lawyer, Arroyo defended the brothers Quintin and Rizal Yuyitung, publishers of the Chinese Commercial News, who were summarily deported to Taiwan in 1970 by the Marcos administration after they were accused of using their newspaper for alleged procommunist and anti-Filipino activities.

In 1980, Arroyo cofounded the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism Inc. (Mabini) and Flag.

During the snap presidential election in 1986, Arroyo served as counsel of Corazon Aquino.

After the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, Arroyo became the executive secretary of the Aquino administration from 1986 to 1987, chair of state-owned Philippine National Bank and executive director for the Philippines of Asian Development Bank from 1986 to 1990.

Arroyo served three consecutive terms as representative of the first district of Makati City from 1992 to 1998 as an independent.

In 2012, Arroyo was one of the three senators (the other two were Senators Bongbong Marcos and Miriam Defensor-Santiago) who voted not guilty during the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Arroyo was born in Naga City on Jan. 5, 1927. He studied pre-law at Ateneo de Manila University and earned his law degree at the University of the Philippines. With reports from Inquirer Research, Nikko Dizon, DJ Yap, Gil Cabacungan, Tarra Quismundo and Niña Calleja


INQUIRER

No Senate tribute for Joker Arroyo @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 02:32 AM October 9th, 2015 Joker-Arroyo-RIP


THE FAMILY of former Sen. Joker Arroyo has requested that the Senate dispense with its traditional tribute to its deceased members, Senate President Franklin Drilon told reporters Thursday.

Arroyo reportedly died at the age of 88 in the United States on Monday of cardiac arrest after undergoing a heart surgery. The family has maintained silence over the reported death of one of the key figures in the dismantling of the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship and the restoration of democracy in the country.

“Word has reached me that the family does not want any necrological services in the Senate,” Drilon said.

He also said he had received no formal confirmation of Arroyo’s death, but he has nevertheless directed the Senate to fly its flags at half-staff.

Drilon said the Senate could always offer a special Mass organized by Arroyo’s employees, but he repeated the family’s preference. Leila B. Salaverria


ABS-CBN

Lawyer: UN group rules Arroyo's detention violates int'l law RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News Posted at 10/08/2015 11:00 AM | Updated as of 10/08/2015 3:23 PM


Lawyer Amal Clooney and Gloria Arroyo PHILSTAR PHOTO FILE

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appears to have won the complaint filed by her lawyer, Amal Alamuddin-Clooney, before the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations Office of the High Commission on Human Rights.

The panel, however, has yet to publicly comment on the case.

In an email to ABS-CBN News, the Secretariat of the Working Group on Arbitrary detention said, "At this stage the secretariat of the working group only liaises with concerned parties regarding this opinion - i.e the Government and the source."

One of Arroyo's Philippine lawyers, Lorenzo Gadon, however, shared with media in a briefing Clooney's e-mailed update regarding the case.

The e-mail reads: "In its opinion released on 2 October 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention confirmed that the detention of former president of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal Arroyo violates international law and is arbitrary on a number of grounds."

The former president is facing plunder charges in connection with the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds.

READ MORE...

The anti-graft court has repeatedly denied Arroyo's bail petition, prompting the former president to seek the help of the Hollywood actor's lawyer-wife earlier this year.

READ: Clooney's wife elevates Arroyo plight to UN

Even as Arroyo continues to be under hospital arrest, the bail petitions of the other respondents in the case have been granted.

According to Clooney, the government filed on June 15 its reply through the Philippines Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva.

She said the government argued that Arroyo's detention was legal and the UN Working Group should dismiss the case.

''Mrs. Arroyo then filed a written response to the government's arguments through her counsel. The working group therefore had before it extensive legal submissions both from Mrs. Arroyo's counsel and from the government's legal advisors,'' Clooney said.

Clooney said the working group, a prominent UN body composed of 5 independent human rights experts, ''endorsed the arguments advanced by Mrs. Arroyo's counsel in full and held that in its reply submitted last June, the government had failed to refute any of her allegations."

ARBITRARY, ILLEGAL

Clooney said the UN found the detention of the former president arbitrary and illegal under international law ''because the Sandiganbayan court failed to take into account her individual circumstances when it repeatedly denied bail, failed to consider measures alternative to pre-trial detention and because of the undue delays in proceedings against her."

"Further, the working group recognized that the charges against Mrs. Arroyo are politically motivated, since she is detained as a result of the exercise of her right to take part in government and conduct of public affairs and because of her political…opinion,'' Clooney said.

''The working group highlighted in particular the government's defiance of court rulings removing travel bans against Mrs. Arroyo as an example of the government targeting her and interfering with judicial decisions in her case, this finding related to an incident in which the justice minister prevented Mrs. Arroyo from boarding a plane in November 2011 in violation of a Supreme Court ruling allowing her to seek medical treatment abroad."

Clooney said the UN rights body recommended that Arroyo's bail petition should be reconsidered ''in accordance with relevant international human rights standards and to accord Mrs. Arroyo with an enforceable right to compensation for the deprivation of liberty which already occurred."

''In addition, the working group concluded that if the remaining criminal cases proceed against Mrs. Arroyo, the working group requests the government to ensure fair trials which respect all the guarantees enshrined in international human rights law. In particular, the trials must take place without undue delay."

SANDIGANBAYAN DEFENDS ACTIONS

At the sidelines of their pitch for Sandiganbayan's 2016 budget before the House of Representatives, Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje Tang defended the actions of the court.

Tang told reporters, "We have our own judicial process. That has to be observed and the 1st division of the court has precisely observed this process in place. I don't think the court has violated any international law."

"The court has always observed all the processes that are in place in the country. She filed a petition for bail that was heard. Evidence was presented. After due evaluation, the court came up with its resolution. The first division of the Sandiganbayan is handling this case."

Tang said the decision will stay unless there is a radical change that can serve as a ground for change in the resolution.

The lower house last year passed a resolution urging the court to grant Arroyo house arrest on humanitarian grounds.

Justice Efren dela Cruz, who chairs the first division that has Arroyo detained on a plunder charge, said, "We followed existing jurisprudence on the matter. We based resolution on existing laws and jurisprudence. Our mandate is not to be influenced by any public opinion whatever we should base our resolution on facts and evidence in the case.''

'RULING IS PERSUASIVE'

Arroyo's lawyer, Lorenzo Gadon, urged the government to respect the opinion of the UN panel.

"Sana igalang ng Philippine government at Ombudsman itong resolution ng UN sa human rights. Sana mabigyan na ng hustisya. Sana ma-grant ang demurrer o kaya bail man lang ma-grant na dahil 3 taon nang namamalagi sa Veterans [si Arroyo. Hindi na makatarungan," he said.

He, however, admitted the UN panel's ruling is only persuasive.

"Ito persuasive sana nga ito pakinggan at kilalanin ng Sandiganbayan at gubyerno," Gadon said.

The lawyer added that the charge against Arroyo is weak, pointing out that her co-respondents have been allowed to post bail.

"Amal also told me by this time the Philippine government has already received it. Of course they will not publicize it, that's why we're giving you this chance to inform the public that we won the case.''

Gadon said Arroyo's lawyers have yet to decide its next move following the release of the UN body's findings.

"Hindi pa kami nagkakaharap ng buong legal team kung ano next step. Para sa amin, ito ay napakagandang development. Isang international body nire-recognize ang karapatan ni GMA na dapat siya ay entitled to bail."

Gadon also urged the Philippine government to recognize the UN body's ruling.

"Under internationally accepted principles, dapat igalang ito dahil kung hindi lalabas kahiya hiya tayo.''

Gadon said Arroyo herself is happy with the development.

"Nung makausap ko si GMA kahapon, binista ko siya tuwang tuwa siya sapagkat finally na-recognize ang kaniyang karapatan lalo pa ito UN, natutuwa at nagpapasalamat siya sa desisyon."

ARROYO'S HEALTH PROBLEMS

Gadon revealed Arroyo now suffers from inability to properly move her left arm.

"Totoo yan. In fact, pagka nagkakaharap kami ni dating GMA kino-complain niya ang kaliwanag kamay hindi maigalaw ng maayos. Buong araw sumasakit. In fact, pinakita niya nga sa akin nahihirapan i-lift ang tasa ng tea na kaniyang iinumin."

Gadon said this is why Arroyo's lawyers have asked the Sandiganbayan to allow her to have a medical check up at St. Luke's Medical Center.

"Bagong sakit ito na nararamdaman ni GMA aside from previous ailments she was already suffering. Sinasabi ng isang espesyalista na ang pagkakaroon ng bagong sakit ay bunga ng matagal na pagakaka-detain sa Veterans," Gadon said.

DE LIMA 'BAFFLED'

Malacañang, meanwhile, said it takes note of the opinion of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) and will prepare an appropriate response.

"The Philippines, as a signatory to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, abides by its international obligations and ensures that all individuals are accorded due process under its laws," Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said.

"Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been accorded such due process and has availed herself of various legal remedies under Philippine laws. It must be noted that there is an on-going judicial process in the Philippine courts, which has sole jurisdiction to decide on such matters. The Philippine Government or any international body for that matter, cannot interfere nor influence the course of an independent judicial proceeding," he added.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she is baffled by the reports.

"Based on the news reports I saw earlier, they're saying there is arbitrary detention. I'm wondering why there is such an opinion she is being arbitrarily detained. She's going through the process. We have our Constitution, sinasabi doon pag evidence of guilt is strong, if her detention is sanctioned by law, how can that be arbitrary detention?"


PHILSTAR

Palace on UN ruling: GMA enjoyed due process By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated October 8, 2015 - 4:43pm 1 106 googleplus0 0


Presidential Communication Office Secretary Herminio "Sonny" Coloma Jr. on Thursday clarified that the detention of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo does not violate international law. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando, file | AP, file

MANILA, Philippines - The Palace on Thursday insisted that former president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was granted due process, following the United Nations (UN) ruling that her detention violates international law.

"Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been accorded such due process and has availed herself of various legal remedies under Philippine laws," Presidential Communication Office Secretary Herminio "Sonny" Coloma Jr. said in a statement.

READ: Lawyer: UN rules GMA detention violates international law

Coloma added that there is an ongoing judicial process in the Philippine courts and that they have sole jurisdiction to decide on the matter.

"The Philippine government or any international body for that matter, cannot interfere nor influence the course of an independent judicial proceeding," Coloma said.

READ MORE...

The Cabinet official stressed that the Philippines abides by its international obligations as a signatory to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

London-based lawyer Amal Clooney filed the Arroyo case before the UN.

According to the email sent by Clooney to Arroyo's Philippine lawyer, Larry Gadon, the former president was denied bail on grounds that are not compatible with international law.

"...she was denied bail exclusively on the basis of the alleged strength of evidence against her; measures alternative to pre-trial detention were not considered and there were undue delays in considering her bail position in the proceedings against her as a whole," the UN panel said in its opinion released on October 2.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima also contested the UN ruling, citing that Arroyo's detention has basis under Philippine laws, according to a report from the STAR.

RELATED: Clooney’s wife wants Philippine government to apologize to GMA


MANILA BULLETIN

UN backs GMA; World body says PH violated int’l laws; Sandigan says, it’s not legally binding by Ben Rosario October 9, 2015 (updated) Share5 Tweet9 Share3 Email0 Share147


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The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UN WGAD) has declared that the Philippine government violated international laws for the continued “arbitrary and illegal” detention of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Amal Alamuddin Clooney, wife of popular American actor George Clooney, relayed the information to the camp of the former President. Clooney was responsible in calling international attention on the plight of Arroyo by filing a complaint against President Aquino and the Philippine government before the UN.

However, Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that while Malacañang respects the opinion of the UN WGAD, it disputed the findings that Arroyo’s continued detention is “arbitrary and illegal.” He added that neither the government nor any international organization could meddle with the legal matters involving the former President.

NOT LEGALLY BINDING

Even the Sandiganbayan said that the UN cannot pressure the anti-graft court to act favorably on Arroyo’s case as its opinion is not legally binding.

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The UN cannot compel the Sandiganbayan to grant bail to former President Arroyo, Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Samuel Martinez said.

“Whatever the United Nations says about Arroyo’s detention, it is not legally binding,” Martinez said, explaining that the Philippines is “not a signatory to any international law that indicates that the country is bound by any ruling of other countries.”

“The UN opinion finds that the detention of former President Arroyo was arbitrary and illegal under international laws because the Sandiganbayan court failed to take into account her individual circumstances when it repeatedly denied bail, failed to consider measures alternative to pre-trial detention, and because of the undue delays in proceedings against her,” stated Clooney in an email sent to lawyer Larry Gadon, one of the legal counsels of Arroyo.

VIOLATION DISPUTED

“I don’t think the court violated any international law. The court has always observed all the processes that are in place in the country,” Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje Tang said.

Despite the UN opinion, Tang said the anti-graft court will stick to its decision.

The UN body also reportedly asked the Philippine government to “ensure fair trials which respect all the guarantees enshrined in international human rights law. In particular, the trials must take place without undue delay…”

“Accordingly, the UN recommended the ‘reconsideration of Mrs. Arroyo’s application for bail in accordance with the relevant international human rights standards and to accord Mrs. Arroyo… an enforceable right to compensation… for the deprivation of liberty which already occurred,” said Clooney, who described herself as a barrister.

The Sandiganbayan has thrice rejected Arroyo’s appeal for bail for both humanitarian considerations and legal reason, with the accused claiming that the plunder charge against her is based on weak, if not, baseless evidence.

CO-ACCUSED OUT ON BAIL

In fact, most of her co-accused in the conspiracy to commit plunder case have already been released on bail or cleared after the anti-graft court upheld their respective motions for the demurrer to evidence.

But Justice Martinez said the issue with Arroyo’s detention has nothing to do with human rights, but the fact should she be given bail under the non-bailable plunder offense lodged against her.

Under the plunder case against her, Arroyo and her co-respondents are accused of having allegedly accumulated P365,997,915 from 2008 to 2010 by diverting the Confidential/Intelligence Fund (CIF) of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

“Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been accorded such due process and has availed herself of various legal remedies under Philippine laws,” Coloma said in a Palace press briefing.

“It must be noted that there is an ongoing judicial process in the Philippine courts, which has sole jurisdiction to decide on such matters. The Philippine government or any international body, for that matter, cannot interfere nor influence the course of an independent judicial proceeding,” Coloma added.

Sandiganbayan First Division Chairman Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz said they have not violated the rights of Mrs. Arroyo. He assured that the anti-graft court cannot be influenced by the Executive as far as former President’s case is concerned.

“Our mandate is not to be influenced by any public opinion or whatever. We should base our resolution on the facts and evidence of the case. That’s all,” Cruz said.

Martinez, however, admitted that the UN opinion could have a “persuasive effect” in the probability of granting bail to Arroyo, who is currently under hospital arrest at the Veteran’s Memorial Medical Center (VMMC).

Government anti-graft lawyers have been successful in blocking Arroyo’s numerous appeals for bail and for the dismissal of the P366-million plunder case although voting on the decision have been close.

‘We won the case’

Gadon said they had expected that a copy of the UN decision had already reached the Philippine government.

In her personal message to Gadon, Clooney stated how “delighted” she was with the UN body’s opinion.

“As you will see from the opinion, we won the case. The UN endorsed all of our arguments and concluded that President Arroyo’s detention violates international law,” Clooney said.

“In its opinion, the Working Group – a prominent UN body composed of five independent human rights experts – endorsed the arguments advanced by Mrs. Arroyo’s counsel in full and held that, in its reply submitted last June, the government had failed to refute any of her allegations,” the Clooney email stated.

“Further, the Working Group recognized that the charges against Mrs. Arroyo are politically motivated, since she is detained ‘as a result of the exercise of her right to take part in government and the conduct of public affairs’ and ‘because of her political… opinion’,” said Clooney, who is equally popular for advancing the cause of human rights victims before the UN and other international human rights bodies.

The human rights lawyer said: “The Working Group highlighted in particular the government’s “defiance of court rulings removing travel bans against Mrs. Arroyo” as an example of the government targeting her and interfering with judicial decisions in her case.”

UN CITES DE LIMA’S ARBITRARY ACT

Also reportedly cited in the decision was the incident when Justice Secretary Leila de Lima stopped Arroyo from boarding her flight in 2011 despite the absence of charges filed in court.

The UN body noted that De Lima’s arbitrary move had violated a Supreme Court ruling that upheld Arroyo’s right to seek medical treatment abroad.

Many lawyers, including critics of Arroyo, chided De Lima for her actions as they pointed out later that Arroyo was released on bail for the charge of violation of election laws which was the Justice secretary’s basis for preventing Arroyo to seek medical help abroad.

Clooney said the UN panel “ruled that her detention is arbitrary under each and all of the three categories of arbitrariness recognized by the UN Working Group.”

The opinion reportedly upheld Clooney’s contention that “Mrs. Arroyo was denied bail on grounds that are not compatible with international law: she did not benefit from the presumption in favor of bail; she was denied bail exclusively on the basis of the alleged strength of the evidence against her; measures alternative to pre-trial detention were not considered and there were undue delays in considering her bail position and in the proceedings against her as a whole.”

Also upheld was Clooney’s insistence that “Mrs. Arroyo has been subjected to detention as a result of the exercise of her right to take part in government and the conduct of public affairs and because of her political opinion.”

MEDICAL CHECK-UP

Meanwhile, Arroyo has asked the Sandiganbayan First Division that she be allowed to undergo medical check-up in another hospital.

In a motion filed yesterday, Arroyo prayed that the anti-graft court permit her to undergo a medical check-up at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City from 9 a.m. of October 21 up to 4 p.m. of October 22.

“The VMMC does not have the facilities and equipment necessary to perform these tests/examinations, as stated in the Medical Certificate dated 1 October, 2015,” said her lawyers in the motion. (With reports from Genalyn D. Kabiling, Jeffrey G. Damicog, and Charissa M. Luci)


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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