The Supreme Court (SC) this Tuesday, July 19 acquitted former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the plunder case filed against her over the P366-million intelligence funds from Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). In addition, the high court ordered her release after almost four years of hospital arrest.
In a press conference this Tuesday afternoon, Supreme Court Spokesman Theodore Te said that a 11-4 vote went in favor of Gloria Arroyo because of “insufficient evidence.” This is in line with the plunder case filed by the Ombudsman in July 2012 against her and 9 other former government officials, on her alleged misuse of PCSO funds between 2008 and 2010.
Arroyo, who is now on her third and final term as Representative of Pampanga’s second district, was arrested on November 18, 2011 via an arrest warrant following a complaint for electoral sabotage by the Commission on Elections (Comelec). She was detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) but was released on bail on July 25, 2012.
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Nevertheless, Gloria Arroyo was arrested again in October 2012 this time over the PCSO funds. Since then, she is serving her second hospital arrest at the VMMC. The anti-graft court, Sandiganbayan had a plunder trial against her, but the Supreme Court unanimous approved her petition to stop the said trial. She consistently refused to enter any plea.
Meanwhile, those who voted in favor of Gloria Arroyo are: Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr, Justice Teresita de Castro, Justice Arturo Brion, Justice Diosdado Peralta, Justice Lucas Bersamin, Justice Mariano del Castillo, Justice Jose Perez, Justice Jose Mendoza, Justice Bienvenido Reyes, Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, and Justice Francis Jardeleza.
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Of the 11 SC judges, 8 of them were Arroyo appointees while only 3 of them were appointed by former President Benigno Aquino III who officially ended his term last June 30. On the other hand, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Associate Justices Marvic Leonen and Benjamin Caguioa voted against her.