Arroyo asks High Court to nullify plunder case-A A +A
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
MANILA (Updated 3:15 p.m.) -- Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo turned to the Supreme Court on Wednesday and asked the justices to stop the Sandiganbayan from further hearing her plunder case in connection with alleged misuse of funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Along with her request for a temporary restraining order (TRO), Arroyo also asked the court to junk the resolution of the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan dated October 3, 2012, which was the basis for the issuance of the arrest warrant weeks ago.
Arroyo's detention at the Veteran's Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City has also been asked to be ceased in deference to her stature as former President and for humanitarian reasons.
The Pampanga lawmaker, who is seeking a fresh term next year, was earlier found suffering from coronary ischemia, which may lead to heart attack if left unchecked.
In her petition, Arroyo also said there is no evidence yet that would tag her in a "grand conspiracy" to touch on the PCSO intelligence funds.
The petition added that former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita was not included in the 10-man charge sheet even if he approved the request of then PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte for higher CIF (confidential/intelligence funds).
"Since petitioner GMA (Arroyo) is admittedly not a payee of the checks issued for the CIF and there is no evidence at all showing that she received a single centavo of the encashed checks issued to and/or received by the payees thereof, there is clearly no basis in holding that petitioner GMA amassed, accumulated and acquired alleged ill-gotten wealth," the petition read.
The funds were reportedly intended for stamping out lotto and sweepstakes scams victimizing innocent people of winning the jackpot and selling tampered tickets as winning tickets, unauthorized expenditures of endowment fund for charity patients and organizations and illegal gambling games (jueteng) under the guise of small town lottery.
"Given the confidential nature of the activities to be undertaken on the additional CIF requested, the Ombudsman should not have considered petitioner GMA's approvals thereof tainted with criminal intent," the petition stated.
Eleven of the 14 magistrates are Arroyo appointees but Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has since established himself as a critic of the former leader's policies on charter change, among others.
Arroyo is set to be arraigned in the P366-million case on October 29 before the anti-graft court's first division. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)