Arroyo walks free


Posted at Jul 21 2016 06:27 PM | Updated as of Jul 22 2016 01:48 AM

Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

(UPDATED) Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was freed Thursday, two days after the Supreme Court (SC) announced it had voted 11-4 dismissing her plunder case involving Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds.

At around 6:25 p.m., Arroyo, who was under hospital arrest for nearly four years, left Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.

The high court announced last Tuesday that it granted her plea for a demurrer to evidence in her plunder case before the Sandiganbayan.

She was accused of conspiring with other PCSO officials in misusing P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence funds from 2008 to 2010.

Her supporters and allies had been awaiting her release from the VMMC since Tuesday.

READ: Delay in Arroyo release irks lawyer

After her release, Arroyo went straight to her La Vista residence.

Earlier, she was expected to proceed to another hospital, St. Luke's Medical Center, as claimed by lawyer Ferdinand Topacio.

Topacio said the former president is upbeat and eager to work, with a visit to her constituents in Pampanga one of her priorities.

"Titingnan natin kung ang talagang state of the health niya kung pwede na siyang mag-work. She's really eager to work kasi sabi niya ang tagal daw na-deprive ng personal touch niya yung constituents niya," said Topacio.

READ: Supreme Court frees Gloria Arroyo

The Office of the Chief Justice transmitted the copy of the en banc's main decision and dissenting opinions to the Office of the Clerk of Court at 1:20 p.m. Thursday.

The documents were then given to SC process server Benjamin Anonuevo, who then went to the Sandiganbayan on Thursday afternoon to serve the Notice of Judgment and the promulgated decision.

The Sandiganbayan, which heard the plunder case, then sent a sheriff to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) to implement the release order.

-- With reports from Carolyn Bonquin, Christian Esguerra, Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News