MANILA, Philippines - Newly installed Associate Justice Marvic Leonen has been tasked to handle the petition of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that seeks the junking of the P366 million plunder case against her before the Sandiganbayan, a source told ABS-CBN.
The case involves the alleged diversion of intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Leonen is the 3rd justice to have been assigned to the Arroyo petition. The first two -- Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta and Estela Perlas-Bernabe -- begged off from the case.
Peralta recused from Arroyo's petition because his brother in law, Atty. Cornelio Aldon, is the legal counsel of former PCSO Board of Directors member Raymundo Roquero at the time the Senate was investigating the controversy.
Roquero is among Arroyo's co-accused in the plunder case. He has also filed a similar petition with the high court.
Bernabe, for her part, unloaded the petition to Leonen, the most junior magistrate. More senior justices may opt to unload their case load to the junior ones.
The high court decided to consolidate the petitions of Arroyo, Roquero, and another accused, Nilda Plaras.
Aside from them, the following are also charged of the alleged offense before the anti-graft court:
- former PCSO chairman Sergio Valencia,
- former PCSO General Manager Rosario Uriarte,
- former PCSO Asst. General Manager (Finance) Benigno Aguas,
- former PCSO Board Member Manuel Morato,
- former PCSO Board Member Ma. Fatima Valdes, and
- former Commission on Audit (COA) chairman Reynaldo Villar.