SC upholds acquittal of Arroyo in plunder case

THE Supreme Court (SC) has upheld an order of the high court acquitting former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) plunder case.

Voting 11-4, the SC junked the Office of the Ombudsman's motion seeking the reversal of the SC's July 19, 2016 ruling acquitting Arroyo, who was earlier charged with plunder over her alleged involvement in the anomalous release of P366 million in PCSO funds from 2008 to 2010.

The assailed decision had ordered Arroyo to walk free from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, where she had been under hospital arrest for almost four years.

"The Court noted that its decision had granted petitioners' respective demurrers to the evidence which resulted in their acquittal and thus any attempt to reconsider the decision would amount to double jeopardy," the SC said.

Voting 10-5, the high court also upheld its decision dismissing the plunder charges filed against Arroyo's co-accused, Benigno Aguas, PCSO’s former budget officer and accounts manager.

Arroyo last year was acquitted by the SC with the same 11-4 vote.

Citing "insufficiency of evidence," the magistrates reversed the Sandiganbayan First Division's rulings dated April 6, 2015 and September 10, 2015 that denied Arroyo's petition for demurrer to evidence. (SunStar Philippines)

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