Arroyo seeks bail in PCSO plunder case

Posted at 01/18/13 9:58 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Detained former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has asked the Sandiganbayan 1st Division to grant her bail over the P366-million Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) plunder case she is facing.

Lawyers of Arroyo, who now represents Pampanga's 2nd District in the lower House,  claimed prosecutors have shown no evidence supporting the plunder charge filed against her.

The former President's camp said the Sandiganbayan should set an amount for her bail.

Prosecutors have accused Arroyo of conspiring with former PCSO and Commission on Audit (COA) officials in converting the state lottery firms' P366 million operating funds  into confidential intelligence funds.

Her co-defendants are former PCSO Board of Directors chairman Sergio Velancia; former PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte; PCSO directors Manuel Morato, Jose Taruc V, Raymundo Roquero and Ma. Fatima Valdes; PCSO budget officer Benigno  Aguas; former Commission on Audit chairman Reynaldo Villar and former COA-Intelligence Fund Unit head Nilda Plaras.

Arroyo is under hospital arrest at the  Veterans Memorial Medical Center. Some of their co-defendants have fled overseas.

Arroyo's lawyers Anacleto  Diaz and Luis Karlo Tagarda claim that the Office of the Ombudsman issued conflicting reports on the plunder case.

They said a first panel of investigators from the Ombudsman "did not find that accused GMA (Arroyo) committed the crime of plunder."

The lawyers added that a Review Joint Resolution dated July 10, 2012 was only based on "mere assumptions, surmises and conjectures and not upon any direct or concrete evidence."