Arroyos elated over Ombudsman’s decision

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014


CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Former President and now Pampanga Second District Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her son, Camarines Sur Representative Diosdado Ignacio "Dato" Arroyo on Wednesday expressed elation over the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman dismissing the plunder complaints in connection to the anomalous P1.6-billion Libmanan-Cabusao dam and Skybridge projects in Camarines Sur in 2008.

In a statement, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, legal counsel of the Arroyos, said they were elated by the decision of the Ombudsman headed by Conchita Carpio Morales which, in a 28-page investigation report, approved the recommendation of the Field Investigation Office to close and terminate the case since the evidence gathered does not warrant the "initiation of criminal proceedings against the former president and her son."

It can be recalled that lawyers Argee Guevarra and Renecio Espiritu Jr., University of the Philippines-University Student Council (UP-USC) vice chairman Jules Guiang, and Cebu-based activist Aaron Pedrosa accused the Arroyos of receiving kickbacks and commissions in the amount of P202 million through alleged dummies in the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

But the Ombudsman stated that "there is no evidence to show that the former President and her son directly and actively participated in the planning or implementation of the projects."

It also said the funding for the said projects was already included by the NIA as an infrastructure project in its Project Procurement Management Plan and Annual Procurement Plan for 2008, and the DPWH under the Design and Build Infrastructure Project Scheme in 2009, and did not come from the then President's Social Fund or Dato's Priority Development Allocation Fund.

There is no evidence that respondents amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth directly or through their subordinates in the NIA and DPWH, noted the Ombudsman in its decision.

Topacio, in the same statement, stressed that the Arroyos continue to maintain that funds were properly used.

"As we have always maintained, the funds earmarked for the said dam were all properly accounted for, and all unused funds returned to the government, thus the finding by the Ombudsman of the total baselessness of the complaints against them. That the same was filed during the campaign period last year further raises serious doubts as to the good faith of the persons who caused the filing thereof," he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on April 30, 2014.

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