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Sandiganbayan issues arrest warrant for Gloria Arroyo

October 4, 2012 8:05am

(Updated 12:35 p.m.) - The Sandiganbayan issued on Wednesday a warrant of arrest against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for a plunder case in connection with the alleged Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office fund mess.

Associate Justice Efren Cruz, Sandiganbayan 1st Division chairman, signed the arrest order, which was confirmed by Atty. Estela Teresita C. Rosete of the said division.

In a phone interview, Rosete told GMA News Online: "Yes, there was a warrant of arrest issued yesterday (Wednesday)." But the lawyer declined to give more information about it.

Gloria Arroyo's arrest put on hold — lawyer
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s arrest warrant issued by the Sandiganbayan has been put on hold, one of her lawyers claimed Thursday.

Lawyer Anacleto Diaz said the anti-graft court’s first division granted his oral motion to put Mrs. Arroyo’s arrest on hold after he argued that there is no probable cause to charge the former President with plunder in relation to the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds during her incumbency.

“I was forced to enter an oral motion for reconsideration for this arrest warrant to be withdrawn. Wala naman kasing probable cause itong kasong ito. Now, the court has to resolve my oral motion first before issuing the warrant,” Diaz said in a phone interview.

The Sandiganbayan first division, however, has yet to make an official announcement on the holding of the arrest warrant against Mrs. Arroyo as of posting time.Read more
The graft court's first division issued the arrest warrant at 3 p.m. Wednesday, radio dzBB's Allan Gatus reported Thursday.

Asked for comment, Mrs. Arroyo's counsel Atty. Anacleto Diaz said, "I don't know how to react. We have no information about that. I will try to find out why because we have a pending motion.. that is why we have a scheduled hearing." 

Also ordered arrested were:
  • Sergio Valencia, former PCSO Board chairman,
  • Rosario Uriarte, former PCSO vice-chairman and general manager,
  • Manuel Morato, former member of the PCSO board of directors,
  • Jose Taruc V, former member of the PCSO board of directors,
  • Raymundo Roquero, former member of the PCSO board of directors, and
  • Ma. Fatima Valdez, former member of the PCSO board of directors.

Last July, the Office of the Ombudsman filed a P365-million plunder case against Mrs. Arroyo in connection with the PCSO intelligence funds before the Sandiganbayan.
The Sandiganbayan however ruled that the preliminary investigation on the case was incomplete, because Mrs. Arroyo was not able to file a motion for reconsideration before the Ombudsman filed the plunder case. 
Last Monday, however, the Office of the Ombudsman junked the motion for reconsideration from Mrs. Arroyo’s camp and affirmed that the former President "performed various act" to "surreptitiously divert public funds sourced from PCSO’s operating budget for personal gain." 

Mrs. Arroyo has been out on bail since late July for the electoral sabotage case filed against her in connection with the 2007 senatorial elections. She has pleaded not guilty to the electoral fraud case.

She had spent eight months in hospital arrest since Nov. 15 last year, first at the St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig City, then at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center starting last December.
The former leader, who is running for re-election as Pampanga representative, has been seeking alternative healing methods for her anatomical problems. 

On Wednesday, Mrs. Arroyo's eldest son — Ang Galing Pinoy Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo — filed his mother's certificate of candidacy before the local Comelec office in Pampanga. — with reports from Carmela Lapeña and Andreo C. Calonzo/LBG/KG/RSJ, GMA News

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