No plea for Morato on plunder caseBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines — Former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office chairman Manuel Morato did not enter a plea in connection with the P366-million plunder case against him, prompting the Sandiganbayan to file a not guilty plea on his behalf.
The Sandiganbayan first division set the preliminary conference on Jan. 16, 2013.
Morato, who is under hospital arrest, arrived at the Sandiganbayan on a wheelchair and face mask.
Morato, through his lawyer, insisted that the high court act on his petition for certiorari where they also asked to stop the proceedings.
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is also a co-accused in the case. She was arraigned in October.
Morato was supposed to be arraigned at the same time but he was taken to the hospital. His arraignment was then rescheduled to November 22 but the anti-graft court granted his request to reschedule it to December 3.
Morato was allowed by the Sandiganbayan to be under hospital arrest at St. Lukes Hospital in Quezon City under the supervision of the National Bureau of Investigation.
The anti-graft court granted Morato’s motion last October after he submitted a medical certificate from his attending physician Dr. Maria Adelaide Iboleon-Dy.
Based on the Medical Certificate dated October 25, Morato underwent an open heart surgery, triple bypass with aortic valve replacement with a prosthetic valve on October 22.