Ex-PCSO execs charged for taking all-expense paid trip after deal
Three former officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) were charged with graft and breach of ethical conduct for allegedly receiving an all-expense paid trip to Australia in exchange for a joint venture agreement.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor filed one count of graft or violation of Section 3(b) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and one count of violation of Section 7(d) of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees against former PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte and former board directors Jose Taruc V and Fatima Valdez.
The three were co-accused in the plunder case of former President Gloria Arroyo for the alleged misuse of P366 million in PCSO intelligence funds during her term from 2008 to 2010. The case against Arroyo has been dismissed by the Supreme Court due to lack of evidence.
Prosecutors said that in February 2010, Uriarte, Taruc and Valdez accepted an all-expense paid trip to Australia for the approval of a joint venture agreement with TMA Group of Companies for the establishment of a thermal coating and printing plant in the country.
The prosecutors recommended a P30,000 bail for each count of the offense.
Uriarte, the so-called “missing link” in the PCSO case against Arroyo, surrendered in November last year to face her plunder charge.
Valdez, a PCSO board member, also surfaced from hiding in October last year.
READ: Arroyo’s co-accused surrenders, pleads not guilty to plunder
The two surfaced after the Supreme Court dismissed the plunder case of Arroyo and Benigno Aguas for lack of evidence and released the two from detention.
Both Uriarte and Valdez pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The Sandiganbayan has also dismissed the plunder cases against board officials Manuel Morato, Raymundo Roquero, Taruc, and former Commission on Audit head Reynaldo Villar.
Former PCSO chair Sergio Valencia’s plunder charge was downgraded to malversation.
Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative, walked free in July last year from four years of hospital detention after the Supreme Court junked the plunder case against her.
READ: SC junks remaining Arroyo plunder case, sets her free
The high court said Arroyo’s approval of the P366 million intelligence fund releases were only ministerial and did not constitute an “overt act” to commit plunder. CBB/rga