MANILA, Philippines (July 25 2012) - Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo waved at her cheering supporters as she arrived at the La Vista Subdivision in Quezon City, hours after she was ordered released from hospital detention on Wednesday afternoon.
Mrs. Arroyo was released from her detention room at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) after a Pasay City court judge allowed her to post a P1 million bail in connection with her electoral sabotage case.
The convoy of the former president, escorted by policemen and followed by several media vehicles, entered the La Vista Subdivision shortly before 3:30 p.m.
"Nagpapasalamat kami at nakauwi na rin siya. Siyempre ang katarungan ay nananaig pa rin sa ating bayan. Hindi naman talaga malakas ang kanilang ebidensya kaya naman po nakapagpiyansa ang dating pangulo," said Elena Bautista-Horn, spokesperson of the former president.
Horn said that the former president was very excited to return to her home province of Pampanga.
She said that the former president's lawyer are also preparing for her defense on the plunder case filed against her by the government regarding the alleged misuse of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office's intelligence fund during her administration.
Despite the release order, Mrs. Arroyo cannot leave the country because of a pending hold-departure order issued against her in connection with the plunder case filed by the Office of the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan, which has yet to issue an arrest order against the former president.
Shortly before 3 p.m., the convoy slipped past a mob of angry protesters through the Gate 2 of the VMMC, where the former president spent the last seven months in detention.
A large group of protesters tried to block the convoy as it was making its way out of the VMMC. An orange pickup truck was even used by the protesters to block the convoy.
Mrs. Arroyo was ordered arrested in December last year on charges of electoral sabotage in connection with the alleged massive cheating during the 2007 mid-term elections.
Earlier, Mrs. Arroyo came out of the VMMC's presidential suite while holding a young boy, probably one of her grandchildren. She was then escorted to a waiting white coaster and went for a brief prayer at the government hospital's chapel.
Before the former president left the presidential suite, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio announced in his Twitter account that the former president has been "officially released." Topacio was at the VMMC witnessing the serving of the release order issued by Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 112 Judge Jesus Mupas.
"CGMA officially released. Everyone singing 'Please release me, let me go," Topacio announced in his Twitter account @FerdieTopacio.
He also announced that Mrs. Arroyo will be transferred to her home at the La Vista Subdivision in Quezon City, where she will join former first gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.
Mrs. Arroyo was ordered released after posting a P1 million cash bond at the Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC).
After the posting of the cash bond, Mupas signed the release order for the former president.
From the Pasay RTC, Court Sheriff Rodelio Buenviaje went to the Philippine National Police's national headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City, to serve the release order to Chief Superintendent Wilhelm Barles.
Shortly before 2 p.m., Buenviaje was already back at the VMMC to serve the release order.
The order was also addressed to Dr. Nona Legaspi, director of the VMMC.
"You are hereby directed to discharge from custody the person of Cong. Gloria Macapagal ARroyo," the order stated.
Mrs. Arroyo's lawyer posted the cash bond after Mupas sign a resolution on Tuesday, granting the former president's petition for bail.
Court spokesperson Celda Domingo said that Mupas granted the bail petition after finding that there were no strong evidence presented by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that would prove Arroyo's direct involvement in the massive cheating during the 2007 elections.
"The evidence against GMA (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) is not as strong as [those presented against] Bedol and Ampatuan," Domingo said in media briefing after the court issued the omnibus order on the case.
The former president was ordered arrested and detained at the VMMC in December last year. She was charged with electoral sabotage in connection with the alleged massive cheating in the 2007 elections.
Domingo, meanwhile, said that the bail petitions of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and former election supervisor Lintang Bedol were denied because they were directly implicated by prosecution witness Norie Unas in the alleged rigging of the 2007 elections.
Domingo said the Comelec lawyers handling the case can file a motion for reconsideration on the decision.
Several groups trooped to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City where former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when they heard the news of the Pasay City granting her to post a P1 million bail for the electoral sabotage case.
Members of the militant group Bayan gathered in one of the gates of the VMMC to protest the granting of bail to Mrs. Arroyo.
Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr. said that aside from the electoral sabotage case, the government seems to have been filing weak cases against the former president. (From Philstar.com)