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Gloria Arroyo asks Sandiganbayan anew to grant her bail in PCSO plunder case


(Updated 11:03 a.m.) Former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Wednesday asked the Sandiganbayan to allow her to post bail in the plunder case she is facing in connection with the P366-M Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) scam.
 
Arroyo, though her lawyer Modesto Ticman, Jr., told the court that Sandiganbayan Associate Justices Rodolfo Ponferrada and Jose Hernandez have opted to grant her earlier motion to bail. This was however, opposed by three other justices.
 
Ponferrada said in his opinion then that the prosecution failed to show or prove strong evidence of guilt of any of the accused as the principal witness failed to point the presence or whereabouts of the ill-gotten wealth.
 
Ticman also noted that other co-accused of Arroyo such as Jose Taruc V and Reynaldo Villar "who even evaded arrest for almost two years and only surfaces belatedly to surrender were immediately granted bail, no ifs and buts."
 
"Why should accused PGMA be treated differently?" he said.
 
He added that the medical condition of Arroyo shows that she should be granted bail.
 
He said Arroyo's confinement at Veterans Memorial Medical Center "has not contributed to the improvement of her medical condition but has in fact exacerbated the same."
 
A medical certificate issued on June 23, 2014 by Dr. Martha Nucum stated that since Arroyo's confinement at the hospital in December 2011 after three medical spine surgeries, she "has not been cured of her illness and she continued to feel the ill effects of her previous surgeries."
 
Ticman further said that "the adverse and negative effects of depression that are being brought about by her (Arroyo) hospital incarceration continues to take its toll on her health."

The plunder complaint was filed with the Ombudsman by Jaime Regalario, Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel and former Army general Danilo Lim on July 26, 2011. They accused the respondents of performing “various acts" to "surreptitiously divert” public funds, amounting to P366 million, sourced from PCSO’s operating budget “for personal gain."
 
Among those accused with Arroyo are former PCSO board chairman Sergio Valencia, former PCSO assistant general manager for finance Benigno Aguas, and PCSO board member Raymundo Roquero. —KG, GMA News

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