Ombudsman exonerates Arroyo on plunder charges

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MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed the outstanding plunder case filed against former President and three-term congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and several officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) for alleged illegal use of P73 million confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) from 2004 to 2007.

In a 10-page resolution in February but just released to the media recently, the Ombudsman dismissed the plunder case, malversation of public funds and violation of section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against Arroyo with PCSO officials Rosario Uriarte, Sergio Valencia, Benigno Aguas, Gloria Araullo, and Commission on Audit Assistant Commissioner Lourdes Dimapilis and Auditor Nilda Plaras.

Based on the complaint, Arroyo allowed the release of regular CIFs and granted Uriarte and Valencia’s request for additional CIFs without specific details and corresponding documents.

Arroyo, Aguas, Araullo, Plaras, and Dimapilis allegedly conspired with Uriarte in releasing funds amounting P57 million from 2004 to 2007.

Also, Valencia accordingly illegally released P15 million on the same year.

The case was filed in conjunction with the dismissal of Arroyo’s case in the Supreme Court for plunder due to alleged illegal use of PCSO intelligence funds from 2008-2010.

In the Ombudsman’s decision, there is no probable cause to remand Arroyo and his associates in the case it said. (Chris Figueroa/IAMIGO/CNS)

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