SC should heed Ombudsman request to reverse acquittal decision of Arroyo

 

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

In light of President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent daring exposé describing the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) as the most corrupt agency of government and the milking cow of some sectors, should it not only be fair and just that the Supreme Court (SC) heeds Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales’ request for reversal of its decision to acquit former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?

In his revelation Duterte even went to the extent saying that he is still looking for somebody who has the guts to kill “corrupt” people to head the PCSO.

Duterte was talking about exterminating gambling lords who have managed to incorporate the Small Town Lottery (STL) of the PCSO.

It must be remembered that the STL was intended to eradicate the illegal numbers games called ‘jueteng’ ‘masiao’ etc., but unfortunately it has failed in its objective and because the STL operations are not reporting its actual sales it has been reported that the government stands to lose at least P50 billion a year in revenues.

Duterte also added that these unscrupulous operators of the agency also co-opt bingo and lotto operations.

Duterte even added that whoever he would appoint PCSO chairman would have his blessing to kill anyone who would commit corruption in the PCSO.

This is how badly and disreputably PCSO is managed until now, which means to say that it could have been even worse during the time of ex-president Arroyo.

A testament to this unpleasant observation at PCSO is the statement issued by the Office of the Ombudsman saying that the former president was complicit in the whole scheme to raid the PCSO coffers. Proof of this is her dealing directly with PCSO and her supervision of the agency herself.

It is perhaps because of this anomalous dealing that Ombudsman Morales filed a motion for reconsideration with the SC asking for reversal of its decision to acquit Arroyo and strongly arguing that the plunder charges have strong legal and factual basis. The motion for reconsideration said “the prosecution was able to prove that P365,997,915.00 was repeatedly pilfered by the accused, in conspiracy with each other, from the Confidential and Intelligence Fund (CIF) of the PCSO from 2008 to 2010.”

The Office of the Ombudsman also said that documents presented by prosecutors were able to show that “the CIF was heavily increased by infusions under the written directive of Arroyo; and the amount of P365,997,915.00 withdrawn was actually received by ex-PCSO officials Rosario Uriarte and Sergio Valencia.”

Knowing how Arroyo run the presidency during her time and knowing now how corrupt-laden PCSO is according to Duterte, would it not be, again, justifiable that the SC re-visits Arroyo’s plunder case once more so we will know the real score?

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