NegOcc officials welcome Arroyo’s acquittal

LOCAL government officials in Negros Occidental reacted after the Supreme Court (SC) acquitted former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of plunder.

The plunder charge was filed against the former President in connection with the alleged misuse of P366 million of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office confidential intelligence fund.

READ: Supreme Court sets Gloria Arroyo free

“Finally, it has been resolved,” said Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, as he urged the public “to respect and abide by the decision.”

Fifth district Board Member Alain Gatuslao said the acquittal of Arroyo was “expected.”

“When the SC suspended Arroyo’s trial at the Sandiganbayan last year, it was an indication of the next move of the court,” he said.

Second district Board Member Salvador Escalante Jr. said the High Court “has spoken, so be it.”

“It’s a pity that she has to go through four years of house arrest,” he said.

In Bacolod City, Councilor Ricardo Tan, a known ally of Arroyo, said that justice was finally served to the former President.

“Vindication is really possible to those who did not commit a wrong doing. I wish all the best for her. I am happy for her,” he added.

Councilor Caesar Distrito said the SC decision is “fair and justified.”

“Just imagine, all her other co-accused were earlier granted bail for temporary liberty. She suffered so much and this will be a respite for an ailing former president,” he added.

For Councilor Em Ang, Arroyo’s plunder case is “predicated on conspiracy so therefore there being conspiracy, the act of one is the act of all.”

“The decision by the SC, being the final bastion of justice and the rule of law, is a step forward to positive change that every Filipino is hopeful about this new administration,” she said.

Former Bacolod City mayor Monico Puentevella, also an ally of Arroyo, said the “dismissal of the case after six years in prison? A woman at that? Wow. Doesn’t sound right. What about the other guys involved with Janet Napoles and Priority Development Funds? That's a heavier offense. What now?”

Voting 11-4, the SC en banc reversed the anti-graft court’s ruling dated April 7 that junked Arroyo’s petition for demurrer to evidence. See related story on Page 8

A demurrer challenges the sufficiency of evidence presented by the prosecution to sustain a verdict. The grant of Arroyo's petition means that the evidences the prosecution filed against her were not enough to prove her guilt. (With reports from MPE)

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