3 others in Arroyo plunder case left Philippines

Posted at 10/05/2012 1:20 AM | Updated as of 10/05/2012 2:25 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED/CORRECTED) – Three of the co-accused in the plunder charge filed against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo involving the alleged misuse of government intelligence funds are already out of the country, authorities said.

Former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Rosario Uriarte, PCSO board member Jose Taruc V, and former Commission on Audit (COA) chairman Reynaldo Villar have left the country.

Bureau of Immigration spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang earlier said Taruc left the country last July 19, merely days after the plunder charge was filed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Authorities also said despite the promise that they will surrender, former PCSO board members Raymundo Roquero and Fatima Valdez have yet to appear in Camp Crame.

The arrest warrant for another accused, former head of COA’s Intelligence and Confidential Fund Audit Unit Nilda Planas, will be served in Albay.

Earlier, the name of former PCSO chairman Sergio Valencia was included in the list of those who fled the country.

But Valencia’s wife, Tina Revilla-Valencia, told ABS-CBN News that her husband, and another co-accused, PCSO Budget and Accounts Manager Benigno Aguas, have voluntarily surrendered on Thursday afternoon.

They are now under the Philippine National Police Custodial Center.

Valencia and Aguas decided to surrender after their lawyers confirmed that arrest warrants against them were active.

Valencia said he has nothing to hid and is ready to face the plunder charge in court.

Meanwhile, the camps of former PCSO directors Manoling Morato and Taruc declined to accept the warrants of arrest.

“Lahat sila wala, ‘yung atin lang pong former President. Tuluy-tuloy naman po ang pag-serve ng warrant ng CIDG,” said Sr. Insp. Kimberly Gonzales.

Arroyo’s arrest warrant was served on Thursday while she was at the presidential suite of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.

She is now considered a “patient-detainee” at the hospital. -- Report from Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News