Ex-PCSO exec surrenders to CIDG over plunder case

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08:48 AM January 21st, 2013

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By: Nestor P. Burgos Jr., January 21st, 2013 08:48 AM

Former PCSO director Raymundo Roquero. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — A congressional candidate and co-accused of former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a P366-million plunder case over the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds, has surrendered to authorities.

Former PCSO director Raymundo Roquero turned himself in to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camp Crame Friday evening, said his lawyer Victoriano Orocio who accompanied him.

“My client has submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court while our petition for certiorari and for a temporary restraining order is still pending before the Supreme Court,” Orocio told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Roquero is among the 10 former government officials, including Arroyo, accused of misusing P366 million in PCSO intelligence funds from 2008 to 2010.

The Sandiganbayan’s First Division on Oct. 3 issued an order for their arrest. Two of Roquero’s co-accused, former PCSO chair Sergio Valencia and assistant manager for finance Benigno Aguas, earlier surrendered after the arrest warrants were issued.

Roquero has filed a separate petition before the Supreme Court seeking to stop the implementation of the resolution and arrest order of the Sandiganbayan’s First Division.

A former mayor of Valderrama town in Antique and a member of a prominent political clan in the province, Roquero is a candidate for representative of the lone congressional district of Antique against re-electionist Rep. Paolo Everardo Javier of the ruling Liberal Party (LP).

He is running under the “Bag-ong Antique” coalition, an aliance of groups affiliated with the United Nationalist Alliance of Vice President Jejomar Binay.

In an earlier interview, Orocio said Roquero was being dragged in the case as “collateral damage” because he was associated with the former president. He said there was no evidence to back up the charges against Roquero.

On Monday, Roquero, through Orocio, would file a petition asking that he  be transferred to the Philippine National Police custodial center where Valencia and Aguas have been detained since their arrest.

Another accused, former PCSO board member Manuel Morato, is under hospital arrest at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation.

“For security reasons and convenience in attending hearings, we will request that he will be detained with his co-accused,” Orocio said.

Orocio will also file within the week before the Sandiganbayan a petition for bail for his client.

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