GMA co-accused in plunder case plead 'not guilty'
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Two of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's co-accused in a plunder case filed by the Office of the Ombudsman have entered a not guilty plea before the Sandiganbayan.
Former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairman Sergio Valencia and former PCSO Budget and Accounts Manager Benigno Aguas arrived at the Sandiganbayan Monday morning in handcuffs. They were escorted by members of the Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).
Valencia and Aguas are accused of misusing some P366 million in PCSO confidential/intelligence funds for the election campaign kitty of former President Gloria Macagal-Arroyo.
So far, Valencia, Aguas, Arroyo and former PCSO board member Manuel Morato have been arrested.
Arroyo is currently confined at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center. She has been taken out of the hospital's intensive care unit after being brought there on Friday.
Morato, meanwhile, is currently confined at the St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City for a heart problem.
The other respondents who have yet to surface are: former PCSO vice chairman and general manager Rosario Uriarte, members of the PCSO board of directors Jose Taruc V, Raymundo Roquero, and Ma. Fatima Valdes, former Commission on Audit chairman Reynaldo Villar, and former head of COA's intelligence/confidential fund audit unit Nilda Plaras. – with reports from Atom Araullo, Ron Gagalac, and Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News