THE Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, April 18, has affirmed its July 2016 decision, dismissing the plunder case against former Philippine President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in connection with the alleged misuse of P366-million fund from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
In its summary resolution, the SC said it denied the People’s motion for reconsideration due to the insufficiency of evidence.
“The Court DENIED the People’s motion for reconsideration of the Court’s July 19, 2016 decision for lack of merit,” the resolution read, penned by Justice Lucas P. Bersamin.
It added that “any attempt to reconsider the decision would amount to double jeopardy.”
With a vote of 11-4, the SC denied the Office of the Ombudsman’s motion for reconsideration in its July 19, 2016 decision, which granted Arroyo demurrer to evidence and resulted in her acquittal.
Among those who voted to affirm Arroyo’s dismissal were Justices Lucas P. Bersamin, Estela M. Perlas Bernabe, Mariano C. del Castillo, Teresita J. Leonardo de Castro, Francis H. Jardeleza, Samuel R. Martires, Jose Catral Mendoza, Diosdado M. Peralta, Bienvenido L. Reyes, Noel G. Tijam, and Presbitero J. Velasco Jr.
Those who dissented, on the other hand, were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, Senior Justice Antonio T. Carpio, and Justices Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa Marvic and Mario Victor F. Leonen.
In a statement, Arroyo’s camp thanked the court for clearing her of plunder case with finality.
“We thank the SC for putting an end to this case,” Arroyo’s legal counsel Laurence Arroyo said.
Atty. Arroyo also took note that the former president was already acquitted in July when the SC granted her demurrer to evidence.
“That should be the end of the story. The Ombudsman’s filing of a motion for reconsideration clearly placed the former president in double jeopardy,” he added.
In a separate vote of 10-5, the SC also dismissed the plunder case against former PCSO budget and accounts manager Benigno B. Aguas.
The Sandiganbayan earlier acquitted former members of the PCSO board of directors Manuel Morato, Raymundo Roquero and Jose Taruc, as well as Commission on Audit (COA) officials Reynaldo Villar and Nilda Plaras.