Sandiganbayan junks Arroyo plea vs plunder charges

Posted at 10/08/12 10:35 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan on Monday junked a motion of the camp of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo questioning the plunder charges against her.

The anti-graft court last week issued an arrest order for Arroyo and several former government officials in connection with the alleged misuse of P366 million Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) confidential/intelligence funds.

The funds were allegedly diverted to Arroyo and her allies' election campaign kitty.

The Pampanga representative had asked again the anti-graft court to determine whether there was sufficient basis for the Office of the Ombudsman to file plunder charges against her.

In the latest by the Sandiganbayan's First Division, the justices said they found no sufficient basis to reverse the Ombudsman's findings.

The Sandiganbayan added the motion is already moot and academic, following the issuance of the arrest order last week.

Mrs. Arroyo earlier told the Sandiganbayan the allegations contained in the charge sheet were insufficient to support there was probable cause to indict her for plunder.

Arroyo lawyer Anacleto Diaz said his client, who is currently detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, is considering filing a petition for bail before the Sandiganbayan even if the case is non-bailable.

The Arroyo camp had also said it might elevate the case to the Supreme Court. - with ANC; and Dennis Datu, dzMM