The Office of the Ombudsman has maintained that the Supreme Court (SC) erred in its ruling dismissing the plunder case against former president and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, insisting that she was the “main plunderer” of the government funds.
In a 12-page reply filed before the SC on Jan. 9, the ombudsman’s Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) disputed Arroyo’s claim that the prosecution failed to establish who among the respondents in the case was the main plunderer of the P366-million confidential and intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
The OSP said the High Court “failed to consider vital pieces of evidence,” particularly the liquidation reports and supporting documents submitted to the Commission on Audit (COA) by Arroyo’s co-accused, former PCSO budget and accounts manager Benigno Aguas, former chairman Sergio Valencia and former general manager Rosario Uriarte.
The OSP said the liquidation reports submitted by the three concerning the utilization of the CIF for 2008, 2009 and 2010 show that out of the P366-million funds, P244.5 million went to the Office of the President (OP), P108 million to Uriarte’s office and P13.3 million to Valencia’s office.
The Sandiganbayan First Division, which handled Arroyo’s case before it was dismissed by the High Court, was furnished a copy of the OSP’s reply on Jan. 11.
The OSP also pointed out that in their accomplishment report to COA dated March 9, 2009, Aguas, Valencia and Uriarte admitted that the bulk of the fund that went to OP were utilized for other purposes “that do not involve PCSO operation.”
The accomplish report stated that the OP used the funds for “activities and programs that have “nothing to do with the operation of the PCSO (such) national security threat such as destabilization, terrorist act, bomb scare.”
The OSP said the SC decision on July 19, 2016 is not yet final and executory. Arroyo was set free on July 21 after almost four years in detention.
– Elizabeth Marcelo