PCSO plunder case hits dead end: ‘Missing link’ walks
The plunder case filed against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and several others in connection with the P365.99-million Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence fund mess has officially hit a dead end.
In an 11-page decision dated May 11, the Sandiganbayan acquitted former PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte — the case’s last remaining defendant and supposed “missing link”— for insufficiency of the Ombudsman’s evidence.
The antigraft court cited the Supreme Court’s July 19, 2016, decision acquitting Arroyo of plunder, also for lack of evidence.
It also noted that the high court decision already exonerated Uriarte, even though she was then a fugitive who could not defend herself at the time.
An ailing Uriarte returned to the country on Nov. 16, 2016.
No new evidence
“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,” the Sandiganbayan said.
“Thus, as the high tribunal categorically cleared Uriarte of culpability from the instant charge of plunder, it behooves this court to acquit her,” it added.
The decision was penned by Associate Justice Efren N. de la Cruz and concurred in by Associate Justices Geraldine Faith A. Econg and Edgardo M. Caldona.
The Ombudsman sought to hold Uriarte liable for requesting the transfer of PCSO funds to the confidential intelligence funds, which could be accessed with minimal restrictions.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.