MANILA, Philippines – Two of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's co-accused in the P366 million Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) fund mess had flown out of the country last July.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) confirmed that former PCSO board member Raymundo Roquero and Nilda Plaras, former Commission on Audit (COA) Intelligence Fund Unit chief, both Mrs. Arroyo's co-accused in the plunder case pending before the Sandiganbayan, left the Philippines on July 23, a day before the anti-graft court handed down a hold departure order that bars them from leaving the country.
The bureau said Plaras left via TR2783 Tiger Airways from Cebu bound for Singapore; Roquero boarded a Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight. He returned on July 31 from Los Angeles to Manila via PAL Flight 103.
Another co-accused, Jose Taruc V, left the country reportedly for the US on July 19.
Because of these incidents, the Office of the Ombudsman has asked the anti-graft court to order the cancellation of their passports.
The other co-accused in the plunder case are: former PCSO chairman Sergio Valencia, former PCSO Assistant Manager for Finance Benigno Aguas, former PCSO General Manager Rosario Uriarte, former PCSO Directors Manuel Morato and Ma. Fatima Valdes, and former COA chairman Reynaldo Villar.