CITY OF SAN FERNANDO--Third District Representative Aurelio "Dong" Gonzales, Jr. welcomed former President and now Pampanga Second District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's acquittal adding that the latter can now really exercise her duties as legislator.
Gonzales, who visited Arroyo several times before her acquittal, reacted after the Supreme Court (SC) acquitted Mrs. 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.
"It was a pity that she had to endure all those years under hospital arrest," Gonzales said.
In an 11-4 ruling, the High Court voted to acquit Arroyo, thereby freeing her from five years of hospital arrest due to the case.
"There is a general sentiment in Pampanga as well as other places that Madam Arroyo should have been released even earlier," Gonzales said, adding that Mrs. Arroyo's release will be a great help to her constituents.
The SC en banc reversed the anti-graft court's ruling dated April 7 that junked Arroyo's petition for demurrer to evidence.
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.
Gonzales said that Pampanga officials will surely welcome the former President now that she can buckle down to work as a free citizen.