Evidence of graft strong against ex-PCSO officials | Inquirer News

Evidence of graft strong against ex-PCSO officials

/ 05:50 AM August 06, 2018

The Sandiganbayan has denied the plea of three former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) officials to be allowed to file a demurrer in their graft and misconduct case even as it found the prosecution’s evidence strong enough to lead to their conviction.

Former General Manager and Vice Chair Rosario Uriarte and former board members Jose Taruc V and Fatima Valdes — who all served during the Arroyo administration — were accused of getting a free trip to Australia from the contractor of a now scuttled lottery paper supply deal.

Strong evidence


In a five-page resolution dated July 20, the court’s Sixth Division rejected their motion to cut the trial short and seek the cases’ dismissal on the grounds of insufficiency of prosecution evidence.


The court said the Ombudsman’s evidence was strong enough so they would have to refute it with their own evidence.

“After a careful study of the documentary and testimonial evidence submitted by the prosecution, the court finds that, if unrebutted, the same is sufficient to support a verdict of guilt,” read the resolution.

Uriarte, Taruc and Valdes could still file their demurrers at the risk of waiving their right to present evidence in their defense and allowing the court to rule based only on the prosecution’s evidence.


The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Sarah Jane T. Fernandez and concurred in by Associate Justices Karl B. Miranda and Kevin Narce B. Vivero.

Prosecutors claimed the three PCSO officials “received a gift in the form of an all-expenses-paid trip to Australia” from Australian paper manufacturer TMA Group of Companies.


The gift was “in consideration of their intervention as officers of PCSO in the approval of a joint venture agreement” between the PCSO and TMA for the establishment of a thermal coating and printing plant in the Philippines, according to the charge sheets.


They were charged with one count each of violating Section 3(b) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Section 7(d) of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

The 25-year joint venture agreement struck in December 2009 was suspended by the PCSO upon the start of the Aquino administration, and later canceled for allegedly being disadvantageous to the government.

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Uriarte, Taruc and Valdes were the codefendants of former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the now dismissed plunder case for the alleged misuse of P366 million in PCSO confidential intelligence funds.

TAGS: graft case, Jose Taruc V, PCSO, Sandiganbayan

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