MANILA, Philippines - Bayan Muna Representatives Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares have filed plunder, graft and malversation charges against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former PCSO General Manager Rosario Uriarte in connection with the use of P325 million intelligence funds over the span of 3 years.
In a 10-page complaint, the group accused Arroyo and Uriarte of conspiring to divert the intelligence funds for purposes other than intelligence work.
In the Senate hearing last week, Uriarte admitted to using portions of the intelligence fund to help victims of typhoon Ondoy. The money also served as "blood money" and for the roll-out of the Small Town Lottery or STL.
The 2 party-list congressmen added that Uriarte could not have used the funds without the approval of Arroyo.
"Illegal na nagamit yun intel funds, hindi sa purpose that it was appropriated for. Labag ito sa Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Sinadya ni GMA na mag-appoint ng isang malapit na kaibigan para ilagay sa PCSO para magamit niya ang PCSO funds sa sarili niya o sa pamumulitika niya. Kinasuhan din sila ng plunder dahil sa laki ng halaga na involved, Casiño said.
Both lawmakers asked the Office of the Ombudsman to conduct a lifestyle check against Uriarte and sequester the report from the chairman of the Commission on Audit to help in the accounting as to where the intel funds were really spent.
Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro personally administered the filing of the complaint and assured the complainants that the agency will act on their complaint as soon as possible.
The Office of the Ombudsman announced last week it would launch an independent fact-finding investigation on the matter.
"We will look at the complaint and gather evidence for the case build-up, then once all the documents are in, we will conduct a preliminary investigation." Casimiro said.
For his part, Atty. Raul Lambino claimed this is just another propaganda to persecute Arroyo.
As far as he is concerned, all the intel funds were properly liquidated with the COA and all the transactions were with board approval.
He said they should have waited until the lifestyle check against Uriarte was finished before filing a case against her as this would prove that she did not enrich herself when she was still a board member of the PCSO.