Arroyo cleared anew by SC in OWWA fund mess-A A +A
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
MANILA -- Technical malversation charges against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will now be put to rest after the Supreme Court affirmed its decision that she had no involvement in the alleged misuse of around half a billion pesos in welfare funds for migrant workers in 2004.
In a two-page minute resolution, the SC Third Division said petitioner former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez failed to show any reversible error committed by the Office of the Ombudsman, which earlier junked the case.
"Unless tainted with grave abuse of discretion, the judgments and orders of the Ombudsman shall not be reversed, modified or otherwise interfered with by the Court," the resolution stated.
Chavez asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to charge Arroyo with plunder for using P530.38-million fund of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) for political purposes and channeling $350,000 from the OWWA Capital Fund to several labor attachés in the Middle East during the US war in Iraq.
The DOJ downgraded the case to technical malversation but Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales dismissed it late last year, saying the funds were used in 2005 or a year after Arroyo narrowly won over movie actor Fernando Poe Jr. in the presidential elections.
Records from the Commission on Audit (COA) dated February 28, 2006 and March 15, 2007, show that the money was actually transferred to PhilHealth but went to programs for the OFWs, according to the Ombudsman.
The High Court agreed with the Ombudsman in: (a) dismissing the complaint against Arroyo, et al.; (2) holding that the transfer of OWWA funds to Philhealth is valid, and; (c) the OWWA funds were used legally.
Arroyo is currently detained at the Veteran's Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City due to a P366-million plunder case in connection with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) fund anomaly. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)