Aquino opposes Arroyo house arrest

MANILA — President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday rejected a request for house arrest for former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo, who is detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center on electoral sabotage charges.

Arroyo’s lawyers had filed the plea that she be confined to her family’s residence in La Vista, Quezon City.

“Why house arrest? What’s the point of making an arrest [if we are going to allow house arrest anyway]?” Mr. Aquino said in a television interview.

“Since they [the Arroyo camp] are insisting that she is suffering from a medical condition, a hospital should be the best venue. I think the hospital is already adequate.”

Mr. Aquino said the government was not curtailing Arroyo’s rights in opposing her petition.

“We will afford her rights. We will protect them to the fullest extent possible,” he said. But he said there was a need for “closure” on the electoral fraud charges.

Remorse on the part of the former President would be a factor in deciding whether or not to forgive her in case she was found guilty and convicted, Mr. Aquino said.

“Pardon, I think, is governed by several policies within the Board of Pardons and Parole. The degree of remorse is one component,” he said.

“So if they still profess [innocence], where is the remorse? Where can we find the remorse there?”

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