Interpol help sought in arrest of 3 ex-PCSO officials

Posted at 11/13/12 8:46 PM

MANILA, Philippines - International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) can help in locating and arresting 3 former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) officials wanted for plunder, government prosecutors said Tuesday.

In a 6-page reply filed before the  Sandiganbayan First Division, prosecutors asked the anti-graft court to order the Interpol's Manila office to have former PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte and former PCSO board directors Jose Taruc V and Ma. Fatima Valdez to be placed under the international organization's "red notice."

"Red Notice Status is a request for any country to identify or locate an individual with a view to their provisional arrest and extradition in accordance with the country's national laws," government prosecutors said.

Assistant special prosecutors Julietta Zinnia Niduaza and Ma. Hazelina Tujan-Militante also urged the Sandiganbayan to order the cancellation of the trio's passports.

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Uriarte, Taruc, Fatima Valdez, and several other former government officials are accused of plunder for allegedly mishandling P366 million in the office's confidential intelligence funds from January 2007 to June 2010.

Former PCSO Board of Directors chairman Sergio Valencia, former PCSO directors Manuel Morato and Raymundo T. Roquero; former PCSO budget officer Benigno B. Aguas; former Commission on Audit chairman Reynaldo Villar and former COA-Intelligence Fund Unit head Nilda Plaras have also been indicted over the case.

The Sandiganbayan issued arrest warrants for all the defendants October 4.

Only Arroyo, Morato, Valencia and Aguas have been arrested so far.

Valdes left the country on board Singapore Airlines flight SQ917 on June 12, 2011, according to Bureau of Immigation travel records.

Uriarte also left via Cebu Pacific flight 5J807 on July 8, 2012, while Taruc was on board Cathay Pacific Airlines flight CX900 on July 19, 2012.