SC affirms dismissal of fund misuse case vs ArroyoBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court affirmed the Office of the Ombudsman’s decision dismissing the criminal case against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and several others in connection with the alleged misuse of P530-million funds intended for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
In a two-page minute resolution released Wednesday, the high court denied the petition filed by former Solicitor-General Francisco Chavez for failure to show any reversible error committed by the Ombudsman.
Aside from Arroyo, the Ombudsman also ordered the dismissal of case against former President and CEO of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. [PHIC])Francisco Duque III; former Executive Secretary Alberto Romulo; and former Chairman of the OWWA Board of Trustees Patricia Sto. Tomas, and former OWWA Board of Trustees Members Virgilio Angelo, Manuel Imson, Rosalinda Baldoz, Mina Figueroa, Caroline Rogge, Victorino Balais, Gregorio Oca and Virginia Pasalo.
Aside from plunder and violation of the Anti-Graft Law, the Ombudsman also dismissed the complaint for malversation of public funds, qualified theft and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees against the respondents for lack of evidence.
The Ombudsman, in its June 14 and October 12, said that the OWWA funds were properly distributed to its beneficiaries and its graft investigators found no evidence that the fund was misused.
But Chavez, in his petition, asked the high court to reinstate the original charge of plunder Arroyo and the other co-respondents.
Chavez argued that the DOJ and the Ombudsman “committed reversible error in not finding probable cause against respondents” for the crime of plunder.
The high court agreed with the Ombudsman in dismissing the complaint against Arroyo and her co-respondents and in saying that the transfer of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) funds were used legally.
“Unless tainted with grave abuse of discretion, the judgments and orders of the Ombudsman shall not be reversed, modified or otherwise interfered with by the court,” the high court, in its resolution stated.