Double jeopardy: Arroyo acquittal is final
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the appeal of government lawyers seeking the reversal of its previous decision acquitting former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of plunder for the alleged misuse of P366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Voting 11-4, the tribunal affirmed its July 19, 2016, ruling which granted Arroyo’s filing of a demurrer to evidence for the criminal case she was facing in the Sandiganbayan.
Theodore Te, the high court’s spokesperson, told a news briefing in Baguio City that the magistrates also voted to uphold the dismissal of a similar case against Arroyo’s coaccused, former PCSO official Benigno Aguas.
“The court noted that its decision had granted (Arroyo’s and Aguas’) respective demurrers to the evidence which resulted in their acquittal,” Te said.
“Thus, any attempt to reconsider the decision would amount to double jeopardy,” he added.
The tribunal had previously cited “insufficiency of evidence” in dismissing the case and in ordering the release of Arroyo from hospital arrest.
Arroyo’s camp thanked the high court for upholding its decision junking the plunder case against her, saying the ruling should “put an end to this case.”
“We thank the Supreme Court for putting an end to this case. PGMA (Arroyo) was actually acquitted way back in July of last year when the SC (Supreme Court) granted her demurrer to evidence,” Arroyo’s lawyer Laurence Arroyo said in a statement.—WITH A REPORT FROM DJ YAP
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