DFA cancels passports of 3 ex-PCSO execs

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The Department of Foreign Affairs has canceled the passports of former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Rosario Uriarte and former board directors Jose Taruc V and Maria Fatima Abad Valdes and placed their names on the department’s “lookout list.”

Along with former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the three were accused of plunder before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the alleged misuse of P325 million in intelligence funds of the PCSO.

Uriarte, Taruc and Valdes left the country even before arrest warrants were issued against them by the court.

Uriarte’s counsel, the Benjamin Santos & Ray Montri Santos Law Office, filed a manifestation with motion informing the Sandiganbayan’s First Division of the DFA’s action despite their motion seeking an extension to file a reply to the prosecution in connection with their motion for reconsideration.

The court had given Uriarte until March 26 to file her reply.

However, on March 22, the accused received the court’s March 5 resolution which noted the Feb. 13, 2013, letter of Assistant Secretary Jaime Victor Ledda of the DFA-Office of Consular Affairs informing the court of the cancellation of their passports in compliance with court resolution dated Jan. 21, 2013.

The counsel said the DFA would not have canceled Uriarte’s passport were it not for the January resolution.

However, the counsel pointed out that Uriarte’s motion for reconsideration is still pending resolution, citing the fact that the prosecution had just filed its comment in connection with the motion.

The counsel asked the court to furnish Uriarte a copy of the DFA letter in order to address the issue in her reply which she will soon file and to seek another 10-day extension within which to file it.

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