Gloria Arroyo finally mugged, fingerprinted

Militant groups hold a rally denouncing the Supreme Court ruling on the travel ban on former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday. (From Philstar.com)

MANILA, Philippines (Nov 19, 2011) - At past 3 PM this afternoon, police took mugshots and fingerprints of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo while sitting on her bed at the St. Luke's Medical Center.

The police deferred the booking of the former president in consideration of her medical condition when she was put under hostpital arrest yesterday.

Police photographers took the mug shots in spite of the request of the Arroyo camp that they just take the photos and turn them over to the the police.

"The [mugshots] were taken while the ex-president was sitting on her bed in a reclining position," Police Senior Supt. Joel Coronel of CIDG-NCR announced before the media outside the hospital in Taguig City at past 4 p.m.

Coronel said that Mrs. Arroyo's fingerprints were also taken as part of the regular booking process for an accused. He said that the fingerprints and the mugshots, which were still in digital form, will be processed at the police's Crime Laboratory and then submitted to the Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 112 with the copy of her warrant of arrest on Monday.

The police official said Mrs. Arroyo was awake, responding to the police and was wearing a neck brace and the usual hospital gown when the booking photographs were taken. He added that Mrs. Arroyo was still under intravenous hydration when the booking process was conducted.

Coronel said that the photographs -- frontal, profile left and profile right -- were taken with Mrs. Arroyo's name plate, which has held for her by a police medical personnel.

Coronel , meanwhile, said that they are not allowed to release the mugshots of the former president to the media.

"I will leave it up to the sound discretion of the court whether to release it to the public. We will abide and submit to the court's discretion on this matter," he said.

Media personnel who were at the press briefing urged the police to release the mugshots, citing the case of former President Joseph Estrada, the first Philippine president to be charged and arrested. Mugshots of Estrada were freely distributed after he was booked.

Coronel reminded the media that the police officer who released Mr. Estrada's booking photographs to the media was subjected to an administrative investigation.

Ferdinand Topacio, lawyer of former first gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, pleaded to the media not to release the mugshots to the public.

"If you get a copy, please don't shame her. We appeal to everyone's sense of discretion on decency," Topacio told reporters before Coronel's announcement.

He said that the former president should be treated "with the dignity due her as a former head of state."

Topacio, however, admitted that the Arroyo camp cannot do anything to stop the release of the photographs to the media and the public.

Asked to describe Mrs. Arroyo's physical appearance, the lawyer said that the former president looked worse than when the public saw her when she attempted to leave the country last Tuesday night.

He added that the former president's health was "deteriorating."

Dr. Juliet Cervantes, Mrs. Arroyo's attending physician, told media that the former president has lost more weight as she had "lost her appetite to eat."

Cervantes said that Mrs. Arroyo has to remain confined at the hospital as she needs to remain under intravenous hydration.

Mrs. Arroyo's lawyers, meanwhile, will attempt to seek relief from the lower court's arrest order before the Supreme court (SC) on Monday.

Topacio said that they will file a supplemental petition with very urgent motion for the issuance of a temporary restraining order on the arrest warrant.

The lawyer said that the arrest order should be "suspended in the meantime" pending the SC's ruling on their motion, questioning the constitutionality of the joint fact-finding panel of the Department of Justice and the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

He said that they will reiterate in the urgent motion their earlier claim that Mrs. Arroyo's case is being railroaded by the government.

The Comelec filed the electoral sabotage case against Mrs. Arroyo yesterday morning after an emergency en banc meeting, where its officials adopted the joint panel's recommendation to file the electoral fraud case against the former president.

The case was immediately raffled by the Pasay City court and a few hours after the filing, the warrant of arrest was issued against the former president and two others, including former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and former Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Bedol.

Raul Lambino, lawyer and legal spokesperson of Mrs. Arroyo, earlier said that they will reiterate before the lower court that it has no jurisdiction over the former president's case.

Lambino said that the case should have been filed by the Comelec before the Sandiganbayan because Mrs. Arroyo is a public official. (From Philstar.com)