SC to tackle Arroyo plea to junk plunder case

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 18 2016 07:56 PM

PCSO case is on agenda of en banc on Tuesday: sources

Former president Gloria Arroyo. Noel Celis, AFP

MANILA - Former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's plea for the junking of her plunder case before the Sandiganbayan on the basis of weak evidence will be tackled and possibly voted by the Supreme Court (SC) tomorrow, Tuesday.

Arroyo's petition for the high court to reverse the anti-graft court's denial of her demurrer to evidence plea is on the SC en banc's agenda, according to ABS-CBN News sources.

The plunder case against the former chief executive and several others involves the release of over P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence funds from 2008 up to 2010.

In her petition with the SC, Arroyo sought a reversal of two Sandiganbayan resolutions, dated April 6, 2015 and September 10, 2015, that junked her demurrer to evidence, a plea raised when a defendant believes the evidence against him or her is weak.

Arroyo no longer presented her defense before the Sandiganbayan after the Office of the Ombudsman completed the presentation of its case against her, and instead filed her petition with the SC.

"[N]ot a single exhibit of the 637 exhibits offered by the prosecution nor a single testimony of the 21 witnesses of the prosecution was offered by the prosecution to prove that [Arroyo] amassed, accumulated, or acquired even a single peso of the alleged ill-gotten wealth amounting to P365,997,915.00 or any part of that amount alleged in the Information," Arroyo argued.

Except for Arroyo, all the other accused in the plunder case have been granted bail.

Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, to whom Arroyo's case was raffled to, has circulated a draft decision in favor of Arroyo.

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, meantime, came out with a dissenting opinion.

Should Arroyo win the case, the decision will be immediately executory, which will mean her release from detention.