Lawyer: Gloria Arroyo innocent of any wrongdoing
The lawyer of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday maintained that she was innocent of any wrongdoing over the disbursement of P38 billion of the Malampaya funds during her presidency.
Ferdinand Topacio, Arroyo’s legal counsel, said they have yet to receive an official copy of the complaint filed with the Office of Ombudsman, which accused the former president of using billions of Malampaya funds for other purposes.
The complaint was filed on Sept. 28 by consumer groups, the National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms Inc. and the Boses ng Konsyumer Alliance Inc., seeking 96 counts of graft and another 96 counts of malversation against Arroyo.
According to Topacio, the camp of Arroyo was made aware of the charges only through the media, reiterating that there was no official complaint transmitted to them yet therefore no “specific comments as of this time.”
Basing his knowledge of the complaint from news reports, Topacio pointed out that the complainants themselves admitted that the funds allegedly misused by Arroyo were used for public purposes.
He expressed confidence that the criminal charges filed against Arroyo would be thrown out.
“Therefore, in accordance with settled legal principles, President Arroyo has done no wrongdoing during her term,” the lawyer said in a statement. “We trust in the justice system and we shall answer the charges in due time,” added Topacio.
In their complaint, the consumer groups said Arroyo, during her term in Malacañang, disbursed P38.8 billion of the P173.280 billion of the Malampaya funds.
They accused Arroyo of “taking advantage” of a provision under Presidential Decree No. 910, which created the Energy Development Board in 1976 aimed at strengthening government efforts in the development of energy resources “vital to economic growth.”
The billions of funds were supposedly disbursed in 2006 or during the Arroyo administration. This continued until 2012, the groups said.
These funds were then used for other purposes such as agriculture and irrigation programs, calamity rehabilitation projects, relocation and housing projects, infrastructure projects, transportation, and national security rehabilitation and improvements, among others. INQ