Arroyo urges Ombudsman to be fair in PCSO case

December 02, 2012 - 2:03:14 am

MANILA: Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo urged the Office of the Ombudsman to show a sense of honesty and fairness by releasing the original preliminary investigation results on the alleged misuse of P366m of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds from 2008 to 2010.

In a 12-page reply to the prosecution’s opposition to a motion for production of documents filed before the Sandiganbayan, Arroyo said the anti-graft agency should uphold justice and fair play insofar as the existence and production of the so-called Somido report – which dismissed the plunder charge against her and her co-accused – are concerned.

The Pampanga representative, through her lawyer Anacleto Diaz, said the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) had not been honest with respect to the existence of the first resolution issued by the original panel of prosecutors and graft investigators who conducted the preliminary probe.

Diaz said while the prosecution had claimed that not one of them had seen a copy of the Somido report – named after the head of panel Deputy Special Prosecutor Cornelio Somido – they admit that it was not approved and disregarded by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

“The Prosecution should be candid with this Honourable Court. After claiming that ‘no one of the handling prosecutors has acknowledged the existence of the preliminary investigating panel’s resolution, as not one of them has seen the same,’ the prosecution states positively in the next paragraph that the said resolution ‘was never approved, and in fact, disregarded altogether by the approving authority’,” Diaz said.

“The Prosecution is contradicting itself. How can it argue the character or status of a document, the existence of which the Prosecution does not acknowledge? It appears from the contradictory statements and inconsistent positions of the Prosecution that it has obtained information regarding the subject resolution, which the Prosecution should not be allowed to withhold from this Honourable Court in the interest of justice and fair play,” he added.

Diaz pointed out that the first resolution, although already made public by a fellow respondent in the case as an attachment to a pleading, should be ordered produced by the Sandiganbayan so that the court could weigh on its value which “may spell the difference between acquittal and indictment and continued incarceration for a non-bailable offense.”

The Somido resolution dismissed the plunder charges for lack of evidence against Arroyo and recommended the filing of graft charges against them.

The Philippine star