Arroyo answers Owwa plunder rap-A A +A
Friday, July 22, 2011
MANILA (Updated 10:04 a.m.) -- Former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo filed her counter-affidavit on one of the plunder charges filed against her Friday morning at the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The plunder case was filed by former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez for the former President's alleged misuse of P530 million belonging to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa).
Along with her lawyer, Benjamin Santos, Arroyo, upon arriving at the DOJ at 7:58 a.m., proceeded to the office of the Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva, who chairs the panel conducting the preliminary investigation on the plunder case, to submit her 40-page counter-affidavit.
Villanueva earlier warned the case will be submitted for resolution when Arroyo failed to submit her counter-affidavit last June 23. However, the deadline was extended until today upon Arroyo's lawyer’s filing of ex-parte motion because of her trip to Europe.
Arroyo left the DOJ 20 minutes after filing her counter-affidavit. She declined questions from the media but said her lawyer will issue a statement Friday afternoon on her behalf.
Also named respondents in the case are Alberto Romulo (executive secretary), Francisco Duque (health), and Virgilio Angelo (Owwa).
In the complaint, Chavez alleged that Arroyo, in conspiracy with her co-respondents, "purposely and systematically" orchestrated the diversion and misuse of the Owwa funds to bankroll the financing of purportedly questionable acquisitions by several Philippine diplomatic posts in the Middle East, the humanitarian assistance to Iraq, and her 2004 presidential bid.
Chavez said this amounts to misappropriation and misuse, being an illegal or fraudulent disbursement punishable as plunder.
The plunder case was the second one filed against Arroyo since she stepped down from the presidency in July 2010.
The first plunder was filed in August last year by Danilo Lihay-lihay, a tax advocate, who accused Arroyo of failing to remit P72 million in capital gains taxes over the P1.2 billion sale of the old Iloilo airport to Megaworld Corp. (ECV/Kathrina Alvarez/Jill Beltran/FP/Sunnex)