Ombudsman told to defend plunder case vs ex-PCSO exec-A A +A
Friday, December 20, 2013
THE Supreme Court (SC) has directed the Office of the Ombudsman to explain why a co-accused of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the alleged misuse of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) fund should not be dropped from the plunder case.
In a resolution dated November 26, the Court gave the Ombudsman 10 days to comment on the petition filed by former PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte, who has gone into hiding when the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan ordered her arrest last year.
Uriarte asked the SC to dismiss the P366-million plunder suit, believing that the Ombudsman failed to establish that she benefited from the diversion of PCSO intelligence funds. Plunder involves the accumulation of ill-gotten wealth worth P50 million and above.
Arroyo also used the same argument in asking the SC to junk the case against her.
The former president’s lawyers said Arroyo’s involvement was only limited to the approval of the funds, which was intended for tracking down people or organizations behind illegal gambling games (jueteng) under the guise of small town lottery and sweepstakes scams.
She has been detained at the Veteran’s Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City. On Thursday, the Sandiganbayan First Division allowed her to spend Christmas and New Year with her family.
Aside from Arroyo and Uriarte, also charged with plunder were former PCSO assistant general Benigno Aguas, board directors Sergio Valencia, Manuel “Manoling” Morato, Jose Taruc V and Ma. Fatima Valdez and former Commission on Audit (COA) chairperson Reynaldo Villar. (Sunnex)