MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed a graft case against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo over the alleged misuse of funds of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
The Ombudsman said there is no sufficient evidence to warrant plunder or graft charges against Mrs. Arroyo.
The case stems from a complaint filed by former Solicitor General Frank Chavez with the Department of Justice, accusing Arroyo of misusing and diverting over P540 million of OWWA funds in 2003.
Chavez claimed the funds were used to finance election expenses in the 2004 presidential elections.
Atty. Raul Lambino, legal spokesman of Mrs. Arroyo, said the Ombudsman’s decision is clear proof that the case was mere political harassment.
“The dismissal of this case is clear proof that the cases filed by [President Aquino] against GMA have no leg of evidence to stand on and are purely harassment suits intended for political expediency and motivated by hatred and vindictiveness,” he said in a statement.
Montri Santos, Arroyo's lawyer for the OWWA, said that in January, they had heard rumors that the Department of Justice panel had recommended instead of plunder a lesser offense of technical malversation.
“We never really received any resolution. It was only October 18 we received altogether true enough the January resolution by the DOJ investigating panel recommending only technical malversation. We also received 2 resolutions from the Ombudsman, one dated February 10 2012, the other one on September 2012 a supplemental memorandum. The 2 memoranda disapproved recommendation to file technical malversation and completely dismissed all of the cases. These are things na hindi nababalita."