Former President Gloria Arroyo has been ordered released from detention by the Supreme Court (SC) after the high court granted her plea for demurrer to evidence on a plunder case she is facing for the questionable release of P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence funds in her last two years as chief executive.
Here's a look at the Arroyo plunder case, and how long it has taken before the high court's ruling came out.
On July 16, 2012, the Ombudsman filed a P366 million plunder case against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in connection with the alleged misuse of funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Also charged were former PCSO chair Sergio Valencia, former general Rosario Uriarte, former board members Manuel Morato, Jose Taruc, Raymundo Roquero, Maria Fatima Valdes, former budger and accounts manager Benigno Aguas, Commission on Audit (COA) chair Reynaldo Villar and Intelligence and Confidential Fund Audit Unit Head Nilda Plaras.
The Ombudsman charged them for diverting the PCSO's budget to an intelligence fund that could be accessed only by a select few.
Those charged then supposedly used the funds in the guise of fictitious expenditures, justified by irregularly issued disbursement vouchers.
Valencia, Morato, and Roquero were granted bail in June 2013.
On October 4, 2012, the Sandiganbayan issued a warrant for Arroyo's arrest.
Thirteen days later, on October 17, the anti-graft court granted the former president's request for continued hospital arrest.
On October 24, Arroyo asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order in her favor, and dismiss the plunder charges against her.
August 27, 2014 - Her lawyers filed a demurer to evidence before the anti-graft court's first division, where she essentially said, teh evidence presented against her is insufficient to prove her guilty beyong reasonable doubt.
This was denied by Sandiganbayan on April 6, 2015, paving the way for her trial for plunder.
However, on October 15, 2015, Arroyo's lawyer Estelito Mendoza asked the high court to dismiss her plunder case and suspend the proceedings before the Sandiganbayan.
This was granted five days later, October 20, with the high court suspending trial until February 2016.
The suspension was further extended for 60 days in March 11, and another 60 days in May 3, with the suspension finally lapsing in June 20.
Through this time, Arroyo has been spending her days inside the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC).
In a statement, Arroyo thanked her supporters for their prayers for her freedom. She also thanked President Duterte, who she said, allowed due process to take its course totally unhampered, and to the Supreme Court justices, for finally ending her persecution.
She is expected to be free by Wednesday, July 20.
- Top Story, ANC, July 19, 2016
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