Sandiganbayan has allowed former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to stay at the Veterans' Memorial Medical Center instead of a regular jail.
Under the conditions of her arrest, Arroyo, now representative of the 2nd District of Pampanga, must stay at VMMC unless the court says otherwise. The Philippine National Police will also screen her visitors as well as her use of communication devices. She will also be not allowed to give media interviews without court approval.
The anti-graft court's First Division also ruled that Arroyo will have to pay for her hospital expenses.
Lawyer Renato Bocar, court spokesman, said Arroyo's request to be examined at the Philippine Heart Center has yet to be decided. That will be considered on a case-to-case basis, he said.
Arroyo is set to be arraigned for a plunder case over the alleged misuse of P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence funds on October 29.
She was scheduled for arraignment on Monday, but the court moved this in deference to her health.
Arroyo was placed in intensive care over the weekend for a blocked artery, but has already been moved back to regular care. Dr. Nona Legaspi, VMMC director, said Arroyo needs to undergo an echo test to check for heart disease.
Plunder, which involves the accumulation of ill-gotten wealth of more than P50 million, is punishable by reclusion perpetua, or at least 30 years in prison. It is not a bailable offense. Ill-gotten wealth, if proven, wll be forfeited in favor of the government.
Aside from Arroyo, former PCSO director Manuel Morato, former PCSO chairman Sergio Valencia, former PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte, and other former ranking PCSO officials also face plunder raps. Former Commission on Audit chairman Reynaldo Villar and former COA-Intelligence Fund Unit chief Nilda Plaras have also been accused of plunder.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Tuesday announced a $1.8-billion military upgrade to help defend his country's maritime territory against "bullies", amid an ever-worsening dispute with China.