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Sandiganbayan acquits former PCSO exec in P366-M plunder case

/ 06:52 PM May 17, 2018

The Sandiganbayan has acquitted the last ex-Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) official involved in the plunder case of former President, and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The anti-graft Court has acquitted former PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte of plunder in the P366 million PCSO confidential or intelligence funds case she was accused in.

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In its decision dated May 11, the Sandiganbayan, in acquitting Uriarte, cited the Supreme Court’s July 19, 2016 decision which absolved Arroyo of plunder.

It said that SC ruling also “categorically cleared Uriarte” despite her being a fugitive until November 2016.

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The prosecution also said it had “not adduced any new or compelling evidence” against the former PCSO executive.

“The prosecution has not adduced any new or compelling evidence to warrant a finding different from what has already been rendered by the Supreme Court. Thus, as the High Tribunal categorically cleared Uriarte of culpability from the instant charge of plunder, it behooves this Court to acquit her,” the decision read.

In April 2015, the Sandiganbayan acquitted other former PCSO officials who were accused: Manuel Morato, Raymundo Roquero, Jose Taruc, and Reynaldo Villar.

In 2017, another PCSO official, Maria Fatima Valdes, was also acquitted, while the motion to dismiss of Nilda Plaras was granted.

Accordingly, the hold departure order against Uriarte and the release of her bail bond have been lifted.

The decision was penned by Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Geraldine Econg and Edgardo Caldona. /vvp

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