SC rules in favor of GMA; sets the motion for her release

MANILA, Philippines - On Tuesday, July 19, the Supreme Court acquitted former Philippine President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo over her alleged misuse of intelligence funds for the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

GMA acquitted
The high court dismissed the plunder case against the 69-year-old former Philippine President for lack of evidence. PHOTO CREDIT: Sahifa
In a press conference, SC spokesperson Theodore Te said that the high court dismissed the plunder case against the 69-year-old lawmaker for lack of evidence. The Supreme Court also set the motion for her immediate release from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, where she has been in hospital arrest since October 2012.

Atty. Raul Lambino, Arroyo’s lawyer, said he got information past noon Tuesday that high court justices voted 11-4 favoring the former president. Among those who voted for the dismissal of case against Arroyo are Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr, Teresita de Castro, Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, Bienvenido Reyes, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Francis Jardeleza.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Justice Antonio Carpio, Justices Marvic Leonen and Alfredo Caguioa voted against the dismissal of the plunder case.

The plunder case against Arroyo and several others originated from the charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman for the supposed diversion of P366 million in the PCSO's intelligence funds for personal gain between 2008 and 2010. This was investigated by the Senate blue ribbon committee in 2011.

Meanwhile, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, one of Arroyo’s lawyers, said: “The Supreme Court has once again proven itself to be the final bastion of justice and the rule of law. Its ruling today has validated what we have been saying for six years now: that the charges against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are nothing more than disingenuous attempts at political persecution by a corrupt and inept Aquino administration intent on covering up its gross lack of accomplishments by harassing its political opponents.”

--Mini, The Summit Express

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