PHILIPPINES: Akbayan calls on Sandiganbayan to issue warrant of arrest against Arroyo
AKBAYAN (Citizens Action Party)
Akbayan Chairperson Risa Hontiveros called on the Sandiganbayan today to issue a warrant of arrest against former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) in connection with the plunder charge filed against her and several others before the anti-graft court by the Office of the ombudsman.
Hontiveros said the Sandiganbayan has original jurisdiction over cases for plunder, while the Ombudsman acts as the prosecutor.
“Since the Rules of Criminal Procedure applies suppletorily to cases filed with the Sandiganbayan, Section 5, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court can be applied which states that within ten (10) days from the filing of the information for plunder, the Sandiganbayan justice shall personally evaluate the resolution of the Ombudsman and its supporting evidence. If the court finds probably cause, it shall issue a warrant of arrest,” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros said the Sandiganbayan already deemed the case has probable cause when it issued a hold departure order against Arroyo.
“The plunder case has probable cause. It is rock-solid. It won’t take long for Arroyo to realize that she has simply jumped from the frying pan and into the fire. The Sandiganbayan has no reason not to issue a warrant of arrest against Arroyo. We look forward that the anti-graft body will swiftly act on this issue,” Hontiveros added.
Recently, Akbayan called on the Sandiganbayan to expedite the plunder charge against her, which they said will land Arroyo in jail.
“It is unfortunate that Arroyo was granted bail. We hope that this will be corrected the soonest. In the meantime, we call on the Sandiganbayan to step up the process in deliberating the plunder case against Arroyo and put closure to a corrupt past. I believe that this is one of the necessary measures to impede Arroyo’ incessant attempts to evade accountability,” Hontiveros said. ###
Akbayan says Arroyo bail unfortunate; calls on Sandiganbayan to expedite plunder case vs. ex-president
Wednesday, 25 July 2012
Akbayan Party today described the Pasay City Regional Trial Court’s decision to grant former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo bail on her electoral sabotage case as “unfortunate.” However, the political party said Arroyo is not yet off the hook. Akbayan called on the Sandiganbayan to expedite the plunder charge against her, which they said will land Arroyo in jail.
“It is unfortunate that Arroyo was granted bail. We hope that this will be corrected the soonest. In the meantime, we call on the Sandiganbayan to step up the process in deliberating the plunder case against Arroyo and put closure to a corrupt past. I believe that this is one of the necessary measures to impede Arroyo’ incessant attempts to evade accountability,” according to Akbayan Chairperson Risa Hontiveros.
Hontiveros said Arroyo may have posted bail on the electoral sabotage charge but was confident that the former president cannot "wiggle her way out" of the plunder complaint she filed together with several other anti-corruption advocates.
“Arroyo is not yet off the hook. She is far from scaling the walls of justice. She still has to answer for the plunder case filed before the Sandiganbayan. We are confident that Arroyo cannot wiggle her way out of this case. The plunder case is rock solid. It won’t take long for Arroyo to realize that she has simply jumped from the frying pan and into the fire,” according to Hontiveros.
Akbayan also praised the decision of the Sandiganbayan to issue a hold departure order (HDO) against Arroyo in connection with the plunder charges.
“Although we are confronted with the unfortunate news of Arroyo posting bail, the scales of justice still tip in favor of the people. We commend the Sandiganbayan for its decision to place Arroyo under an HDO. Hopefully, this is the initial step in her speedy and judicious trial and which we hope will lead to her conviction,” Hontiveros added.
The group also called for renewed vigilance from the people in order to prevent any attempt from Arroyo to escape her crimes.
“While the people are confident that the wheels of justice no longer face the barriers that Arroyo once placed to hinder our campaign to exact accountability from her, we cannot discount the ingenuity borne out of her desperation. The people must remain vigilant and ready to mobilize their ranks at any given moment,” Hontiveros said.
The Sandiganbayan First Division barred former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and nine other former officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and Commission on Audit (CoA) from leaving the country without the court’s permission because of their plunder case over the alleged misuse of charity funds.
The Sandiganbayan issued a hold departure order against Arroyo and her co-accused stemming from the case filed by Hontiveros, former army general Danilo Lim and social activist Jaime Reglario in connection with the alleged misuse of nearly P366 million in PCSO funds, which supposedly went to “fictitious” expenses for two years. Arroyo and her co-accused allegedly diverted funds from the agency’s operating budget to the confidential or intelligence fund, which could be accessed with few restrictions. ###
Akbayan welcomes plunder case vs. Arroyo
Tuesday, 17 July 2012
Hontiveros says with no Merci or Corona to protect GMA, case is one step closer towards her conviction
Akbayan Party today lauded the Office of the Ombudsman’s in its decision to file plunder charges against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and several others with the Sandiganbayan in connection with the misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds amounting to more than 300 million pesos.
“We commend Ombudsman Conchito Carpio-Morales’ decision to file plunder charges against Arroyo and former officials of the PCSO. We know that this case is airtight and very much confident that this will result in the Sandiganbayan finding Arroyo guilty,” according to Akbayan Chairperson Risa Hontiveros, one of the complainants in the case.
The political party said that the charges showed that measures to ensure accountability were in place and that it should serve as a warning to public officials past and present.
“This case proves that the wheels of accountability are in place and are working. It also sends a strong message that this administration takes its promise seriously to hold erring public officials accountable. There are no sacred cows in this government,” Hontiveros said.
Plunder case is one step closer towards Arroyo conviction; no Merci or Corona to protect her
Akbayan also said that the filing of charges is a step closer towards Arroyo's conviction since she no longer enjoys the protection of former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez or former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“She can no longer call for protection from her allies. Wala na si Merci, wala na rin si Corona. This is between her and the Filipino people whom she deceived,” according to Hontiveros.
Akbayan also expressed hope that corruption could be ended if Arroyo is successfully prosecuted and convicted.
“We urge the Sandiganbayan to act swiftly on the matter. Now that we’ve dismantled the mechanisms that Arroyo employed to evade her crimes, we are hopeful that we will see her conviction. This case is an opportunity for us to bring an end to corruption,” Hontiveros said.
Plunder charges not for SONA but for Arroyo’s conviction
Akbayan also chided Arroyo counsel Butch Diaz for saying that the filing of plunder charges against Arroyo was a preparation for President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) this July 23.
“They are correct in assuming that the filing of the case is an act of preparation, but they’re wrong in assuming that this in preparation for President Aquino’s SONA. Truth is, this is in preparation for exacting justice from Arroyo,” Hontiveros said.
The plunder charge against Arroyo stemmed from two separate complaints filed with the Office of the Ombudsman. One of the complaints was filed by Hontiveros together with Deputy Customs Commissioner Danilo Lim and Jaime Regalario in July 25 last year for plunder, malversation and violation of Republic Act (RA) No. 3019.
Also charged by the Ombudsman are former PCSO General Manager Rosario Uriarte, Assistant General Manager for Finance Benigno Aguas, former PCSO board members Sergio Valencia, Manuel Morato, Raymundo Roquero, Jose Taruc V and Maria Fatima Valdes, and Former Commission on Audit (COA) officials Chairman Reynaldo Villar and COA Region 5 head Nilda Plaras.
The complaint accused the 10 of conspiring with one another to willfully, unlawfully and criminally amass ill-gotten wealth in the aggregate amount or total value of P365,997,915.00. It said the group diverted funds from the PCSO operating budget to its confidential/intelligence fund that could be accessed and withdrawn at any time with minimal restrictions. ###