MANILA—The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) on Friday said that it has filed its motion for reconsideration (MR) seeking the reversal of the decision promulgated by the Supreme Court (SC) acquitting former President and now Pampanga (2nd District) Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from charges filed in connection with the alleged anomalous utilization of intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
In the MR, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales asserted that the plunder charges have strong legal and factual basis.
Morales said that “the prosecution was able to prove that Php 365,997,915.00 was repeatedly pilfered by the accused, in conspiracy with each other, from the Confidential and Intelligence Fund (CIF) of the PCSO from 2008 to 2010.”
Documents presented by the prosecutors indubitably show that the CIF was heavily increased by infusions under the written directive of Arroyo; and the amount of Php 365,997,915.00 withdrawn was actually received by ex-PCSO officials Rosario Uriarte and Sergio Valencia.
Morales added that “the irregularity-riddled CIF disbursement and liquidation processes implemented by the concerned PCSO officers was not strictly scrutinized by the Supreme Court, even though this eventually led to the unbridled pilferage of public funds amounting to Php 365,997,915.00.”
She reminded the SC that “Uriarte, the recipient of the bulk of the CIF that are unaccounted for, is a fugitive from justice and remains at-large. She continues to evade arrest and, without reasonable justification, refuses to return to the country and/or surrender to the authorities to face the charges against her.”
The prosecution’s evidence, composed of at least 600 documentary exhibits and testimonies of at least 10 prosecution witnesses not only from PCSO but from other law enforcement agencies, as well as submissions in case records consisting of at least 40 folders, is more than sufficient to prove that the accused, in conspiracy, committed plunder.
The Ombudsman stressed that Arroyo’s complicity in the scheme to raid PCSO’s coffers is evident in her having directly dealt with and supervised the agency of which her appointed aide Uriarte, is the Vice-Chairman.