BREAKING NEWS: When Saturday morning arrives in the Philippines a few hours from now, Filipinos will be waking up to the news that on Friday night (Friday morning in the US) former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was arrested in her hospital room at St. Luke’s Medical Center on charges of poll sabotage, a non-bailable offense under Philippine law. She has been allowed to remain in the hospital where she is under the custody of the Southern District police command, according to Senior Superintendent James Bucayu. Bucayu confirmed that former first gentleman Mike Arroyo, members of the Arroyo family, and some members of the former President’s cabinet were present during the serving of the arrest warrant.
Arroyo accused the government of political persecution for the arrest and for stopping her from leaving the Philippines for overseas medical treatment in Singapore for a bone ailment, and further accused the government of filing fabricated charges with “indecent haste.” Arroyo’s lawyers characterized the charges as a “moro-moro” and complained that the process by which it came about was done with undue haste.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima countered that the legal action taken against Arroyo “the real triumph for justice and accountability.” “Justice has been served,” De Lima said at a press conference in Malacañang.
Following is a timeline of the day’s developments, provided by GMA News. (Read the full GMA Article here.)
11:26 a.m. – The Comelec-DOJ panel investigating the alleged massive election cheating in the 2007 senatorial elections filed election sabotage charges against former President Arroyo, former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and former Comelec election supervisor Lintang Bedol. The Comelec asked for a hold departure order against the three.
11:54 a.m. – Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the poll body did not rush in deciding to file the electoral sabotage charges. He said the joint panel’s recommendations were received by the Commission on Nov. 16.
12:12 p.m. – Electoral sabotage case was raffled off to RTC Branch 112 Pasay Judge Jesus Mupas.
1:16 p.m. – The high court, voting 8-5 in a special en banc session, stays and reiterates the TRO it issued last Tuesday.
3:25 p.m. – Lacierda said the TRO is not yet final and executory because Arroyo’s legal team has yet to comply with some conditions stated in the TRO.
4:04 p.m. – Pasay Regional Trial Court Judge Jesus Mupas found probable cause in the complaint filed in his sala and issued warrants of arrest against Arroyo, Ampatuan, and Bedol.
4:09 p.m. – Pasay court turned over arrest warrants to the Pasay City police. National Capital Region Police Director then ordered the Southern Police District to serve the warrants of arrest on Arroyo at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City, Ampatuan at the Bicutan detention facility, and Bedol at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame.
4:25 p.m. – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Mrs. Arroyo is compelled to remain in the country to face electoral sabotage charges.
4:33 p.m. – Arroyo decided not to proceed to the NAIA, canceled Singapore Airlines flight reservations.
6:30 p.m. – Arroyo was arrested on electoral sabotage charges filed before the Pasay Regional Trial Court by the Comelec and DOJ.
– Sr. Supt. James Bucayu led the Southern Police District (SPD) team that served the warrant of arrest on the former President while she lay on the hospital bed in St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig.
– In the hospital room was the former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo and Arroyo’s legal team. The SPD posted two personnel outside the hospital room to stand guard and keep Arroyo in police custody.
– Bucayu said the arresting team read the contents of the arrest warrant to Arroyo who, upon her lawyers’ advice, waived the reading of the former President’s rights as an accused in a criminal case—also known as Miranda rights.
– Bucayu also said the other steps in the booking process, including the taking of the mug shots and fingerprinting will be done the next day at the hospital at a convenient time for the former President.