SC acquits Arroyo

8

IT’S official and final.

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Because of weak evidence, former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was acquitted by the Supreme Court en banc on Tuesday of the crime of plunder in connection with the alleged misuse of P366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

As reported by The Manila Times two weeks ago, Arroyo secured an overwhelming majority of the high court justices, including three of six appointees of her nemesis, former President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

With a vote of 11 against 4, the criminal charge against Arroyo was dismissed by the high court via demurrer to evidence.

The Manila Times on Monday predicted that at least 10 votes would be cast in favor of Arroyo.

The 11 Justices who voted for Arroyo’s acquittal are Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, the ponente or author of the decision, and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Mariano del Castillo, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, Bienvenido Reyes, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Francis Jardeleza.

Reyes, Perlas-Bernabe and Jardeleza are all appointees of Aquino, whose government kept Arroyo at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center since 2012.

Three other appointees of Aquino voted against Arroyo’s acquittal: Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Marvic Leonen and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, an Arroyo appointee, also dissented.

Court spokesman Theodore Te, who announced the results of the vote and read the dispositive portion of the ruling in a news conference, did not give other details.

Several Supreme Court justices who talked to The Manila Times on condition of anonymity said that the ruling means that Arroyo will be immediately released from her detention, after the en banc reversed the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court and granted her plea for demurrer to evidence.

The case cannot be re-filed by the Ombudsman under the principle of double jeopardy.
In effect, the ruling is final and immediately executory.

A demurrer to evidence case happens when the accused pleads for the dismissal of the charges after the prosecution has presented evidence and rested its case.

Arroyo no longer presented evidence before her trial at the Sandiganbayan, arguing that the prosecution, headed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, had insufficient evidence.

The court also voted 10 against 5 to acquit Arroyo’s co-accused, former PCSO official Benigno Aguas.

Justice Bernabe voted against the acquittal of Aguas through a separate concurring and dissenting opinion.

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8 Comments

  1. What plunder? If the money went to official gov’t intel. fund, and not a Napoles type bogus NGO, or to build a Boracay mansion, then there is no such plunder case!

  2. If the money went to Intel Fund/Gov’t Expenses, where is the plunder case? Unless there is evidence that the money was course thru a bogus NGO like Napoles or to build a personal Boracay mansion? What plunder are we talking about here?

  3. Juan T. Delacruz on

    Philippine politics is at its best! The P366 Million that was taken out from PCSO is a weak evidence? She authorized, signed for the release of the P366 Million, is a weak evidence? If Arroyo felt that the evidence against her was weak from the beginning, why she waited until there is a change in the administration?

    I, now believe, that the application of Laws in the Philippines are not equal and it can never be equal, between the “rich and the poor” or those “who have and have not” Bayan ko, wala na ba tayong pagbabago? Sikapin ko man ang magbanat buto, kung ganito ang ating gobyerno, and ating bayan ay hindi umasenso dahil ninanakaw lang and malalaking tao, ang pera ng bayan ko.

    • Yes she authorized and approved the release. But, was there proof or evidence she pocketed the money? None, that is why the evidence is weak.

    • GMA can be set free for humanitarian reason. But she, sons and her husband for sure have wrong doings. SC can’t change millions of Filipinos who believe that the Arroyo family has committed corruption. There are many questions to ask. Why did Angelo Reyes committed suicide? What about the ZTT deals? What about the expenses they incurred when they were in Dubai.. drinking very expensive wines and liquors?

  4. I believe that what happened to GMA and the late CJ Corona was the results of the VINDICTIVENESS of Pnoy, if what I read in the papers were correct;
    1) GMA: When GMA pardoned the old soldiers involved in the assassination of Sen. Ninoy Aquino. Then Sen. Noynoy in an interview said ” I can forgive her (GMA) when she brought up the review of the stock option of Hacienda Luisita (HLI) but I could never forgive her for giving Executive Clemency to those soldiers who were involved in the assassination of my father, How will I know who is the mastermind for his assassination now, when all of them have been freed?”.
    2) CJ Cororna: If what I read that Pnoy went to see CJ Corona his house and request personally for help fro CJ Corona in reversing the decision of the SC (15-0) about the selling to the farmers HLI, but CJ Corona rejected Pnoy’s request.
    The results were GMA was confined for four years at VMH and CJ Corona Impeached.
    Is these not vindictiveness?

    • It’s not PNOY who put her into jail. It’s her, family and friends and some are with the SC friends of Corona. Crime does not pay. There will be more evidences to come. Stay tune. Ombudsman and millions of Filipinos will ask more questions.

  5. Johnny Ramos on

    This is a very humiliating defeat for the ombudsman. To be defeated by the accused GMA without presenting a single evidence of defence but questioning the evidences of charges filed against here is devasting knowledge of prima facie. Kitang kita ngayon nA ngayon na vendetta Lang ito ni Pnoy. Dapat Lang managot Ang mga taong gumawa nito kay GMA. Lintek Lang Walang Ganti.