Arroyo wants faster trial
MANILA - Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is insisting on her right to a fast trial in connection with the plunder case filed against her on the alleged misuse of around P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds.
The detained Pampanga lawmaker, through her lawyers Anacleto Diaz and Analene Balisong, filed a reply at the Sandiganbayan for prosecutors to fast-track her trial.
Diaz and Balisong said the court can rule without delay on the charge filed against Arroyo if prosecutors present all evidence against her in separate proceedings.
Prosecutors want to call at least 29 witnesses and present 230 or more documents in the plunder case against Arroyo.
Her lawyers claim that many pieces of evidence against the former president do not concern her because these relate to PCSO's operations.
"The worst is that none of these listed witnesses and documentary exhibits of the Prosecution show directly or indirectly the participation or involvement of accused GMA (Arroyo) in the crime charged," they added.
The prosecution's formal offer of evidence includes transcripts of the 2011 Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigation into allegations of fraud in the use of PCSO funds; COA audit reports on PCSO; copies of memoranda sent by former PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte containing Arroyo's marginal notes, and a PCSO Board resolution designating Uriarte as the special disbursing officer for the confidential intelligence funds (CIF).
The co-defendants in the case include Uriarte, former PCSO Board chairman Sergio O. Valencia; PCSO board 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 has been detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City. Despite her detention, she was able to win a second term as representative of the second district of Pampanga.