Arroyo camp welcomes Ombudsman resolution on Malampaya fund scam
MANILA — “It’s the perfect way to end the year and to start the new one.”
This was the statement of the legal counsel of former President and current Deputy House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales spared her from indictment for plunder and malversation for the ₱900-million Malampaya fund scam.
Lawyer Laurence Arroyo, a distant relative of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, welcomed in a text message to the Philippine Daily Inquirer the latest of her legal victories that she won in the latter half of 2016.
“We hope that we have seen the last of these frivolous complaints against the former president,” Attorney Arroyo said.
The Ombudsman did not include Arroyo among the 25 respondents set to be charged for two counts of plunder, 97 counts of malversation through falsification of public documents, and 97 counts of graft, her media bureau announced on Thursday. This was because of insufficiency of evidence.
Morales, in a chance interview with reporters, said the complaint by the National Bureau of Investigation and private complainants Levito Baligod and Lourdes Benipayo failed to establish her link to the diversion of discretionary funds to non-government organization controlled by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
“There was no nexus [connecting Arroyo] to the alleged commission of the crime,” Morales said. SFM/rga