Arroyo release nears as SC hands out decision | Inquirer News

Arroyo release nears as SC hands out decision

/ 04:03 PM July 21, 2016

The  Supreme Court (SC) has issued a decision on Thursday dismissing plunder charges against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in effect will be used as basis for the Sandiganbayan to issue a release order on the detained leader

READ: SC junks remaining Arroyo plunder case, sets her free

In a ten-page briefer, the  SC said 11 justices agreed there was no conspiracy among Arroyo and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) general manager Rosario Uriarte and budget officer Benigno Aguas in the alleged disbursements of P366-million PCSO confidential funds.


The high court said the Sandiganbayan erred in declaring former president Arroyo as plunderer by putting her “OK” on requests for release of PCSO confidential funds then facilitated by Uriarte.


READ: SC: Evidence vs Arroyo insufficient; see how the justices voted

The briefer explained that “…(it) was insufficient to prove that petitioner Arroyo had conspired to commit plunder because the affixing of the unqualified “OK” could not be considered an “overt act” for purposes of plunder because this act was a common, legal and valid practice of signifying approval of a fund release by the President and there was no causal relation to the intended crime.”

The high court also said the plunder aspect hurled against the former President proved to be a “fatal flaw” for the prosecution since the law on plunder requires identifying a main plunderer and co-conspirators.

“The prosecution did not pinpoint a particular main plunderer for whose benefit the agents/co-conspirators agreed to accumulate, amass and acquire ill-gotten wealth,” said the court briefer, adding “ it became very difficult, if not impossible, to establish plunder by virtue of the inadequacy of the averments of the crime charged.”

The high court also said “there was no proof of any amassing or accumulating, or acquiring ill-gotten wealth of at least P50 million against petitioners Arroyo and Aguas.”

Majority of SC justices also said there was no “act of raiding the public treasury” because there was no proof that Arroyo and Aguas benefited personally from the funds.


The high court also said the Sandiganbayan which earlier ruled on her plunder case has ignored the lack of information to sufficiently charge conspiracy to commit plunder against Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative.

“The Majority concluded that the SB (Sandiganbayan) thereby acted capriciously, thus gravely abusing its discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction,” read the media briefer.

The high court also argued that the prosecution failed to prove that Arroyo along with Aguas and Uriarte amassed ill-gotten wealth because there were no witnesses presented “to show that that petitioners Arroyo and Aguas had had amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth of any amount.”

The decision also pointed on the lack of evidence that will prove that the intelligence funds of the PCSO have been diverted to either Arroyo or Aguas.

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The high court announced on Tuesday the dismissal of plunder charges against Arroyo. However, the copy of the decision was only released Thursday as it needed signatures of the 15 justices. IDL/rga

TAGS: Plunder, Release, Sandiganbayan, Supreme Court

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