MANILA - Will the other cases filed against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo suffer the same fate as that of the fertilizer fund scam case?
Not a chance, according to Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma.
In a press briefing, Coloma said Malacañang respects the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman to clear Arroyo in a graft case filed by former Solicitor General Frank Chavez in connection with the P728 million fertilizer fund scam.
However, he said other cases filed by the Aquino administration case against Mrs. Arroyo will not suffer the same fate because it is backed up by evidence. This includes a case filed against Arroyo in connection with the Malampaya fund scam.
"Ang mga kasong inihaharap ng kasalukuyang administrasyon ay nababatay sa kongkretong ebidensya at sa buong pagsisikap na mapatunayan ito sa ating mga hukuman alinsunod sa mga proseso ng katarungan ng ating bansa. Walang ganyang pangangamba," he said.
In its decision in the fertilizer fund scam, the Office of the Ombudsman said there was no "documentary or testimonial evidence" that could prove that the former president participated in or knew of the alleged scheme perpetrated by then Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Luis Lorenzo and DA Undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante.
The eight-page resolution, signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on May 2, said there was no "factual or legal basis" to show that Arroyo had participation in the alleged irregularities in the release of P728 million fertilizer funds in 2004 by virtue of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA).
It said Arroyo cannot also be held criminally liable for alleged failure to condemn the acts of her subordinates -- Lorenzo and Bolante -- under the doctrine of "command responsibility."
Arroyo was accused of diverting the funds to her political allies in the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) Party, which she headed back then, to help bolster her presidential bid in the 2004 elections.