Arroyo’s acquittal elates staunch ally in Tacloban

A STAUNCH ally of gormer President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo hailed the Supreme Court’s decision on Tuesday to dismiss the plunder case against his former boss.

Victor Domingo, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) secretary during the last eight months of Arroyo administration, said he is very happy that justice prevailed after five years of the former President's detention.

Arroyo and her co-accused had been charged with plunder for reportedly pocketing Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence funds totaling PHP366 million from 2008 to 2010.

The Supreme Court en banc, in a vote of 11-4, dismissed the case due to "weak evidence" presented by the prosecution team.

“From the beginning, I believe there was no basis of those charges against her since she did not seat as member of the PCSO board. She just trusted the judgment of the board and did not personally use the money,” said Domingo, who was also a PCSO director during the early years of Arroyo presidency.

Domingo, who is now running businesses in Tacloban City, has been Arroyo’s friend since they both worked in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the 1980s.

Arroyo appointed Domingo, a former DTI regional director, as presidential assistant for Eastern Visayas, PCSO board member, presidential adviser for new government center, and DPWH secretary.

“They should have considered Arroyo’s health. It was not prosecution, but persecution as she was not able to leave the country to get the best treatment,” he added.

The former President has been under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City since 2012 in connection with the plunder case.

Domingo credited the former President for the completion of major projects in Eastern Visayas -- rehabilitation of the national highway from San Juanico Bridge to the port in Allen, Northern Samar, Agas-Agas Bridge construction, Biliran Circumferential Road and lobbying for the inclusion of Samar road upgrading in the Millennium Challenge Corporation grant. (PNA)

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