Palace respects dismissal of graft case vs Arroyo

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 08 2014 09:43 PM | Updated as of May 09 2014 05:43 AM

MANILA - Malacanang on Thursday said it respects the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman to dismiss the graft charge against detained former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo over the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said, "We note the May 08, 2014 Resolution of the Office of the Ombudsman dismissing the graft complaint against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. We respect the findings of the Office of the Ombudsman, an independent constitutional body, which has the authority to decide on such cases filed before it."

Arroyo's husband, Mike, said the former President is happy with the development.

"She was very happy. One worry less. That case was filed by Chavez. Thank God Ombudsman saw the light," he said.

The fertilizer funds were allegedly used to bankroll Arroyo's 2004 presidential campaign.

Mike Arroyo's spokesman, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, echoed his principal's sentiment.

"Coming as it does on the heels of the dismissal of plunder charges against Mrs. Arroyo and her son Congressman Dato Arroyo in connection with the Libmonan-Cabusao dam also by the Ombudsman, a clear pattern of persecution emerges on the part of the present administration by way of filing Camoteng Cajoy Cases, hoping that one of them would hold water. Unfortunately for them, even the most rabid administration puppets find it impossible to find merit in these hastily-prepared, totally weird cases," he said.

"Again, we thank the people who continue to stand with us, the decent people of society, who can see beyond the sanctimonious veneer of the Aquino government, and we are hopeful that after this benighted regime, real justice will triumph and all lies shall vanish," he added.

The fertilizer fund scam is one of the many scams that rocked the Arroyo presidency.

The former leader is currently detained on a non-bailable plunder case for the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence funds.

She is also suffering from complications from a botched cervical spine surgery, forcing her detention in a hospital.

The other cases Arroyo has faced are:


ALLEGATION: The first graft case in court against Arroyo alleged overpricing and bribery in a contract (eventually cancelled) for China's ZTE to build a national broadband network.

STATUS: The Ombudsman re-filed the case in December 2011. It is pending at the Fourth Division of the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court.


ALLEGATIONS: The first criminal case filed against Arroyo accused her of conspiring to rig the 2007 senatorial elections. The case is based solely on the testimony of former Maguindanao Provincial Engineer Norie Unas, who allegedly saw and heard Arroyo give then Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. instructions to tamper with the Maguindanao election results.

STATUS: Recognizing weak hearsay evidence, the court allowed Arroyo to post bail. It ruled that "unsupported by other evidence to corroborate [Unas'] testimony, the same could not be given such weight and probative value that will be sufficient to establish a strong evidence of guilt." This case is still pending in Branch 112 of the Pasay Regional Trial Court.


ALLEGATION: This plunder case filed against Arroyo and several senior officials alleged conspiracy to plunder P72 million in capital gains tax allegedly due but not collected in the sale of the old Iloilo Airport land to Megaworld Corporation in October 2007.

STATUS: The five-page complaint was instantly dismissed by the Ombudsman in November 2011. According to the Ombudsman resolution, a "cursory look at the allegations made by complainant Lihaylihay shows that he did not allege, much less present any evidence, that either respondent Arroyo, Romulo, Ermita, Teves or Sevilla acquired ill-gotten wealth in the manner described under Section 1(d) of the Anti-Plunder Law."


ALLEGATION: The case alleged the misuse of P550 million from the Overseas Workers' Welfare Administration Fund for the purchase of vehicles in Philippine missions abroad and for the provision of health insurance coverage.

STATUS: The Ombudsman dismissed the graft and plunder charges and found no misappropriation since the funds reached its intended OFW beneficiaries.