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MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC), in an 11-4 vote dismissed the remaining plunder case vs. former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Ted Te, SC spokesperson announced to the media on Tuesday.
This en banc decision officially frees the former President who has been detained at the Veterans Memorial Hospital since October 2012 due to the alleged misuse of P366 Million confidential intelligence fund for the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) from 2008-2010. Arroyo’s co-accused Benigno Aguas, former PCSO budget and accounts manager, was likewise ordered to be released from detention on the same merit.
After the Office of the Ombudsman completed the presentation of evidence against her, Arroyo no longer presented her defense before the Sandiganbayan. She filed a demurrer, which the Sandiganbayan later junked in April 6, 2015.
On October 15, 2015, in a petition for certiorari, the Arroyo camp asked the SC to dismiss the plunder case. They also appealed for a Status Ante Quo Order (SAQO) seeking to suspend the proceedings at the Sandiganbayan, which the higher court granted on October 20 and was extended three times until June 20 this year.
Those who voted in favor of the dismissal of the case were:
Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr.
Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro
Justice Arturo D. Brion
Justice Diosdado M. Peralta
Justice Lucas P. Bersamin
Justice Mariano C. Del Castillo
Justice Jose P. Perez
Justice Jose C. Mendoza
Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes
Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe
Justice Francis H. Jardeleza
Those who dissented were:
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno
Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio
Justice Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa
Justice Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen
Photo credits: www.mb.com.ph