MANILA, Philippines—An Associate Justice of the Supreme Court inhibited himself from handling the petition of former President, now Pampanga Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo asking the high court to stop the trial of her plunder case.
Sandiganbayan has filed a P366-plunder case against Arroyo for allegedly misusing the intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta was originally designated as the ponente (author) of the case, but he begged off saying he is close to a counsel of one of Arroyo’s co-accused.
Sources said Peralta inhibited because his brother –in-law Atty. Cornelio Aldon – is the legal counsel of former PCSO Board of Director member Raymundo Roquero, one of Arroyo’s co-accused.
Due to Peralta’s decision to inhibit, the high court last Tuesday reset the deliberation on Arroyo’s petition so that another raffle can be conducted to reassign the case to another justice.
Arroyo, in her 81 page petition is asking the high court to reverse the findings of probable cause by the Ombudsman and order the dismissal of the plunder case.
Her co-accused Commission on Audit (COA) Region V head Nilda Plaras already received a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court. The high court granted her petition and stopped the Sandiganbayan from implementing the arrest warrant issued against her.