The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed the last plunder case filed by former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo concerning the misappropriation of P73 million in funds of the state-run Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
The plunder, graft, and malversation of public funds complaint against Arroyo and some of the agency executives emerged from their alleged misuse of PCSO’s confidential and intelligence funds from 2004 to 2007.
On February 13, 2019, the Ombudsman has junked the complaint in a 10-page resolution, which Arroyo’s office revealed on Sunday.
Morales filed the charges in 2016, the same time the Supreme Court discharged Arroyo from another plunder complaint that also involved PCSO funds from 2008 to 2010.
After that, the Ombudsman said that no evidence would prove that Arroyo misused the P73.617 million funds, along with co-respondents, former PCSO General Manager Rosario Uriarte and former PCSO Chairman Sergio Valencia.
“The High Court ruled, among other things, that (1) the Prosecution did not prove the existence to conspiracy among Arroyo, Aguas and Uriarte.; (2) no proof of amassing or accumulating, or acquiring ill-gotten wealth of at least P50 million was adduced against Arroyo and Aguas and finally (3) the prosecution failed to prove the predicate act of raiding the public coffers,” the ruling reads.
Uriarte and Valencia’s request were legal
Moreover, the resolution stated that the Supreme Court had already learned that the request of Uriarte and Valencia for 2008 to 2010 were legal because they followed the requirement under the Letter of Instructions (LOI) in the disbursement of intelligence funds.
Also, in the following case filed covering 2004 to 2007, the Ombudsman said their requests had all the requirements of the mentioned LOI.
“Absent clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, therefore, respondents, as public officers, enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties,” the Ombudsman pronounced.
Meanwhile, the ex-President’s counsel Laurence Arroyo accepted the dismissal of what was considered as ‘pahabol’ complaint.
“It takes as much moral courage and intellectual honesty to dismiss a case as it does to file and prosecute one. What has been said of a public prosecutor can be said of the Ombudsman: Its interest in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case but that justice shall be done’,” he stated.
Graft investigation officer Lucielo Ramirez Jr. penned the ruling, which was later approved by Ombudsman Samuel Martires.