Manuel Morato in NBI’s custodyBy Totel V. de Jesus
MANILA, Philippines—Manuel Morato, a former official of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), is now in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation, radio reports said Friday midnight.
Morato is among the nine former government officials issued with a warrant of arrest on October 3 by the Office of the Ombudsman for the alleged misuse of P325 million in intelligence funds of PCSO during the administration of former president now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Morato, the reports said, is now confined at St. Luke’s Hospital in Quezon City because of a heart problem though earlier reports said he was rushed to the hospital because of an eye ailment that needed immediate attention.
The reports said the warrant of arrest was served to Morato by NBI agents, which he read and signed.
However, radio reports added, Morato can’t be brought to prison because he is scheduled for an operation on Tuesday next week.
Morato served as one of PCSO’s board of directors during the Arroyo administration.
Arroyo was the first to be arrested on Thursday (October 4) while she was undergoing regular check-up and therapy for her neck arthritis at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center.
Among those served with a warrant were former PCSO Chairman Sergio Valencia, General Manager Rosario Uriarte, Board Directors Raymundo Roquero, Jose Taruc V and Ma. Fatima Valdes, Assistant General Manager Benigno Aguas, former Commission on Audit Chair Reynaldo Villar and COA Region V (Bicol) head Nilda Plaras.
Taruc reportedly slipped out of the country in mid-July this year and if proved true, police said earlier he will be a subject of an international manhunt with the help of the Interpol.
Valencia and Aguas turned themselves in at the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) office on Thursday, and are now detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame.
PNP-CIDG chief Director Samuel Pagdilao earlier said the manhunt continues for Uriarte, Valdes, Villar and Plaras.