Sandigan orders Arroyo arrestBy Karen Boncocan, Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan First Division on Thursday ordered the arrest of former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and 9 others in connection with a P300 million plunder case involving the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence funds.
Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Efren Dela Cruz signed the arrest order and was issued Wednesday at 3 p.m.
Also ordered arrested are her co-accused former General Manager Rosario Uriarte; Sergio Valencia, Manuel Morato, Raymundo Roquero, Jose Taruc V and Ma. Fatima Valdes; former COA Chairman Reynaldo Villar and Region V head Nilda Plaras, and PCSO assistant general manager for finance Benigno Aguas.
Arroyo, who was freed from detention at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center on a P1 million bail last July 25 for an electoral sabotage case, is facing jail time once again after the Sandiganbayan issued the arrest warrant for the plunder case filed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.
She also posted bail for a graft and corruption case pending before the Sandiganbayan.
Plunder is a non-bailable offense.
The Pampanga lawmaker filed her certificate of candidacy for re-election at a Comelec office in San Fernando, Pampanga Wednesday.
In the complaint, The respondents allegedly conspired in withdrawing, amassing, accumulating public funds worth over P300 million from July 2007 to January 2010.
Uriarte allegedly wrote several letters to Arroyo to authorize her to utilize the intelligence funds for PCSO to help them in conducting intelligence operations.
During the Senate inquiry in 2011, Uriarte said the funds were used to investigate how medicines given to beneficiaries ended up in commercial markets and the creation of measures to counter scams victimizing lotto bettors.
This is the first plunder case filed against Arroyo and the third criminal case filed against her—for electoral sabotage pending before the Pasay City regional trial court and graft and corruption before the Sandiganbayan.