MANILA, Philippines – One of the co-accused in the plunder charge filed against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo involving the alleged misuse of government intelligence funds is already out of the country, an immigration official said on Thursday.
Bureau of Immigration spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang said former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Jose Taruc V left the country last July 19, days after the plunder charge was filed by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Mangrobang said BI records show that Taruc left the country last July 19 at 9:31 a.m. via a Cathay Pacific flight. No record was found showing Taruc's destination.
She added that the BI also has no record that Taruc has returned to the country.
Taruc is one of the respondents in the plunder charge filed by the Ombudsman against Mrs. Arroyo and former PCSO and Commission on Audit (COA) officials.
Other respondents in the case include former PCSO General Manager Rosario Uriarte; Assistant General Manager for Finance Benigno Aguas; former PCSO board members Sergio Valencia, Manuel Morato, Raymundo Roquero, and Maria Fatima Valdes; former COA Chairman Reynaldo Villar; and former COA Intelligence/Confidential fund audit unit head Nilda Plaras.
The Sandiganbayan on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant against Arroyo and the former government officials.
Arroyo's camp, meanwhile, has manifested an oral motion for reconsideration on the arrest warrant issued by the anti-graft court. – report from Alex Calda, dzMM