UN body finds Arroyo’s detention violative of international law

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Thursday assured that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been accorded due process under Philippines laws. Coloma made this reaction over the opinion released by the United Nation Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), which had found Arroyo’s hospital arrest as “arbitrary and violative of the international law on human rights.”

International human rights lawyer Alamuddin Clooney, wife of US actor George Clooney, also alleged that the UN Group found ex-PGMA’s detention for plunder as “politically-motivated.”

“Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been accorded such due process and has availed herself of various legal remedies under Philippine laws,” Coloma said in a press statement.

Coloma noted that there is an on-going judicial process in the Philippine courts, which has sole jurisdiction to decide on such matters.

As such he said, “The Philippine government or any international body for that matter, cannot interfere nor influence the course of an independent judicial proceeding.” Nevertheless, Coloma said the Philippines takes note of the United Nation WGAD’s opinion and “will prepare an appropriate response according to the WGAD’s rules.”

“The Philippines, as a signatory to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, abides by its international obligations and ensures that all individuals are accorded due process under its laws,” he said.

Arroyo, who is reportedly suffering degenerative diseases of the bones and cartilage of the neck, is presently in hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC). She is facing plunder charges for allegedly using PhP366 million in intelligence fund of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) from 2008 to 2010.