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SUPREME COURT RULES TO FREE FORMER PRESIDENT ARROYO
[RELATED: Arroyo in tears, Calvary ‘over’]
[RELATED(2): No vindictive agenda for GMA]


JULY 20 -HEADLINE FROM CNN PHILIPPINES: Photo courtesy of METROMANILATODAY.COM The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the plunder case against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo because of insufficient evidence and ordered her immediate release from her hospital detention. The High Court had ruled in favor of Arroyo's demurrer to evidence in charges that she misused ₱366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) from 2008 to 2010. Arroyo has denied receiving any Sweepstakes money and any wrongdoing in the disbursement or use of PCSO funds. She asked the court to dismiss the plunder charge on grounds that the evidence against her were insufficient. Reading the decision, Supreme Court Spokesperson Theodore Te said the justices voted 11-4 to dismiss the case against Arroyo and to order her immediate release. Watch video!  The justices who dissented from the majority decision were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, and Associate Justice Alfredo Caguioa. READ MORE...RELATED, Arroyo in tears, Calvary ‘over’... RELATED(2), No vindictive agenda for GMA...

ALSO:
Not over say Ombudsman - Gloria Arroyo under new probe for alleged PCSO plunder
[RELATED: Morales to Arroyo - Not so fast -
2ND PLUNDER CASE READIED VS EX-PRESIDENT]


JULY 20 -OMBUDSMAN MORALES AND ARROYO
The Supreme Court may have already dismissed the plunder case against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in connection with the alleged misuse of intelligence funds but she remains under investigation by the Ombudsman in connection with a similar complaint involving the same agency. In a press briefing on Wednesday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales confirmed that Arroyo is currently being investigated by her office for another plunder complaint still in connection with the alleged malversation of intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office while she was president. “This is under preliminary investigation, I can’t give you the amount but it covers years 2004 to 2007,” Morales said. “Assuming that we can prove that there was ransacking of public fund, after the preliminary investigation and we believe probable cause lies, we will bring it to the court,” she added. It was in June of this year when Mrs. Arroyo’s lawyer, Laurence Arroyo, told GMA News Online that the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office (FIO) filed another plunder and malversation complaint against the former president. Filed before the Ombudsman central office, attorney Arroyo said the new complaint stemmed from the alleged misuse of the PCSO confidential intelligence fund (CIF) worth P57 million from 2004 to 2007. Attorney Arroyo said they received a copy of the complaint on June 3 and was given until June 28 to file a counter-affidavit. “I don’t know what motivated the FIO to file this complaint. But, in the words of Eliot Ness in the movie Untouchables, ‘We will not stop fighting until the fighting is done’,” Attorney Arroyo said in a text message to GMA News Online. Case dismissed In a vote of 11-4 the SC on Tuesday dismissed the plunder case before the Sandiganbayan against Arroyo and her co-accused, former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) budget and accounts manager Benigno Aguas, due to the “insufficiency of evidence” of the prosecution team. READ MORE...RELATED, Morales to Arroyo: Not so fast -2ND PLUNDER CASE READIED VS EX-PRESIDENT...

ALSO:
Netizens dismayed with SC ruling on Arroyo's plunder case
[RELATED: Drilon to Ombudsman: Locate ‘missing link’ vs Arroyo]


JULY 20 -The Supreme Court's ruling that acquitted former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of plunder triggers a flurry of negative comments from netizens
Netizens expressed their disappointment on the Supreme Court's decision to acquit Arroyo of plunder as it granted her plea to drop the case against her on Tuesday, July 19. This sets in motion her release from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, where she has been detained since October 2012. Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, the legal spokesman of Arroyo's husband former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, hailed the SC ruling, saying in a statement that justice has been served. Topacio added that the ruling has validated their claim "that the charges against (Arroyo) are nothing more than disingenuous attempts at political persecution by a corrupt and inept Aquino administration intent on covering up its gross lack of accomplishments by harassing its political opponents." While the news came as a cause for celebration for the Arroyo camp, it triggered a flurry of negative comments from netizens who took to social media their frustration on the Supreme Court ruling. Many netizens also noted that the Supreme Court ruling did not come as a surprise. This is especially after President Rodrigo Duterte claimed he was ready to grant the former president pardon during the campaign season. READ MORE...RELATED, Drilon to Ombudsman: Locate ‘missing link’ vs Arroyo...

ALSO: Gloria Arroyo’s acquittal proves Noynoy Aquino is a failure
[RELATED: De Lima ‘ignorant’ of SC powers – ex-DOJ chief Perez]


JULY 20 -Gloria Arroyo: Her patience and perseverance paid off in proving Noynoy’s failures.
The cornerstone of former President Benigno Simeon Aquino’s so-called fight against corruption — the jailing of his predecessor, former President Gloria Arroyo — just got shot down by the Supreme Court. The last remaining case against Arroyo, which was the plunder case over the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds, was finally dismissed by the high court. The decision is proof that BS Aquino did not have the goods on Arroyo from the very start. He just used the promise of jailing Arroyo to win the gullible voters over to his “cause” way back in 2010. BS Aquino made prosecuting Arroyo the rallying point of his campaign and then of his administration. He made it look like he was after the “big fish”. But it was obvious to some people that it was persecution that he was after. He didn’t care about due process as long as he could show Arroyo detained or locked up. He didn’t care about her medical condition and neither did he show respect for a former teacher, ally and head of state. At first, the public was pleased with his bold move. They were impressed by the speed with which his minions managed to file a case against her to prevent her departure overseas. As mentioned before, back in 2011, there was pandemonium at the Manila international airport when former Department of Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila De Lima panicked after she found out Arroyo was leaving the country and ordered officers at the airport to help bar her from leaving for Singapore. And with the assistance of the media in inciting anger against Arroyo, some members of the public also joined the fray — besieging her at the airport. Her frail and helpless appearance on a wheelchair did not stop them from acting like a lynch mob. The scene resulted in a standoff because Arroyo’s supporters insisted on her Constitutional right to travel abroad. De Lima’s initial violation back then was in defying the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order on the travel ban against Arroyo. De Lima even risked disbarment for ignoring the highest court’s order. Fast forward to today, the Supreme Court’s decision did not surprise most people. Many eventually realised that the cases against Arroyo were trumped-up. One by one, the cases were dismissed due to a lack of evidence and witnesses to testify.READ MORE...RELATED,
De Lima ‘ignorant’ of SC powers – ex-DOJ chief Perez...

ALSO:
By Emil Jurado - The resurrection of Gloria Arroyo


JULY 21 -EMIL JURADO
THE majority decision of the Supreme Court dismissing the plunder charges against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for transferring P366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office proves that the rule of law still prevails in our country. It was a difficult journey for the former President, who became the poster child for BS Aquino III’s supposed straight and narrow path. Recall how Mr. Aquino’s attack dog, former Justice secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima, stopped Mrs. Arroyo in her tracks when the latter was on her way to get medical attention abroad. That was a clear violation of human rights. It was also an act of vindictiveness and persecution that made Mrs. Arroyo languish under hospital detention for years. Just what Gloria did to BS Aquino that made him so vindictive against her remains a mystery. The vindictiveness of BS Aquino became even more pronounced when Mrs. Arroyo’s co-accused were granted bail. Santa Banana, how could GMA be more guilty than her co-accused when evidence proved she did profit a single centavo from the transfer? In fact, as the Supreme Court had found, approving the transfer was only a ministerial act on her part. Aquino also went on to condemn Gloria for the many problems that confronted him during his administration, referring to her nine years in office as a lost decade. What baloney. Records show that it was Aquino’s predecessor who instituted economic reforms that strengthened the country’s economic fundamentals. Would you believe that even when BS Aquino was already stepping down, he even directed the Sandiganbayan to convict Arroyo? This made GMA lawyers elevate the plunder case to the Supreme Court and seek a demurrer of evidence or dismissal of the case. Now, we hear dismal groans from Senator De Lima against the Supreme Court decision, and also from Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, another Aquino attack dog. They just can’t take it, can they? Former Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza, Gloria’s lead counsel, put it so well when he said that after Good Friday comes Easter Sunday. And I agree with him. READ MORE...


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Supreme Court rules to free former President Arroyo


JULY 20 -HEADLINE FROM CNN PHILIPPINES: Photo courtesy of METROMANILATODAY.COM

METRO MANILA,
JULY 25, 2016 (CNN PHILIPPINES) July 20, 2016 - The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the plunder case against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo because of insufficient evidence and ordered her immediate release from her hospital detention.

The High Court had ruled in favor of Arroyo's demurrer to evidence in charges that she misused ₱366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) from 2008 to 2010.

Arroyo has denied receiving any Sweepstakes money and any wrongdoing in the disbursement or use of PCSO funds. She asked the court to dismiss the plunder charge on grounds that the evidence against her were insufficient.

Reading the decision, Supreme Court Spokesperson Theodore Te said the justices voted 11-4 to dismiss the case against Arroyo and to order her immediate release.

Watch video!

The justices who dissented from the majority decision were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, and Associate Justice Alfredo Caguioa.

READ MORE...


Gloria-Arroyo-dismiss-plunder-case-infographic-CNNPH.png

Arroyo was arrested in 2012 and is being held at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City after being diagnosed with cervical spondylosis, a degenerative disease of the bones and cartilage of the neck.

Arroyo has posted bail in a corruption case in connection with the $329 million aborted national broadband deal with a Chinese company. She has also posted bail in the election sabotage case against her in a Pasay City court.

The plunder charge against former PCSO budget and accounts manager Benigno Aguas was also dismissed.

GMA thanks Duterte


Arroyo thanks Duterte, Supreme Court ABS-CBN FILE PHOTOS

In a statement she issued after the court ruled, Arroyo thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for allowing due process to take its course “totally unhampered.”

“It is my fervent hope that nobody else will suffer the persecution that had been levied on me through self-serving interpretation and implementation of the law. And that the disregard of truth for which I was made to suffer be dealt with accordingly at the soonest possible time,” she said.

She was also grateful to the Supreme Court for ruling in her favor and hopes that the public will respect and recognize its decision.

She also thanked her supporters for their prayers and support in keeping her faith and conviction that truth and justice will prevail.

“Keep the faith in the justice system,” said Arroyo.

Arroyo camp grateful


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CNN Philippines ✔ @cnnphilippines
Arroyo lauds Pres. Duterte and Supreme Court, "Justice & righteousness once again prevailed over injustice."
4:26 AM - 19 Jul 2016
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Arroyo, who has been re-elected as representative of her home district in Pampanga, may attend the opening session of Congress on Monday, said former Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza, one of Arroyo’s lawyers.

“She can now consider herself free and in liberty,” Mendoza said. “She can now fully serve her constituents.”

Another lawyer for Arroyo, Laurence Arroyo, said they were grateful for the Supreme Court ruling.

"Finally, after the long night, the dawn has arrived. Former President Arroyo has been vindicated," he said.

In a CNN Philippines interview with Ferdinand Topacio, a spokesperson for Arroyo’s husband, Mike Arroyo, said the former president is excited to come home to her family.

------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Arroyo in tears, Calvary ‘over’ July 19, 2016 10:14 pm by REINA TOLENTINO, CATHERINE S. VALENTE AND LLANESCA T. PANTI reporters


‘RESURRECTION ’Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (left) is shown in high spirits, and without her neck brace, after being told of her acquittal from a plunder charge by one of her lawyers, Raul Lambino (right). Arroyo, 69, is set to walk free after hospital detention at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center since 2012. PHOTO COURTESY OF RAUL LAMBINO

Ruling is immediately executory

FORMER President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was in tears upon learning on Tuesday that after four years in detention, she will finally be free.

Arroyo, now a representative of Pampanga, was surrounded by former members of her Cabinet, son Juan Miguel and grandchildren in her room at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City as news came of her acquittal from a plunder case instigated by the previous Aquino administration.

Arroyo, 69, whose nine-year rule ended in 2010 with the Philippines escaping the global financial crisis on the strength of its service-sector led economy, thanked God, members of the Supreme Court, and President Rodrigo Duterte ahead of her impending release after undergoing what she described as an unjust persecution.

“First and foremost, to God Almighty be all the glory and praise. Through His kindness and mercy, justice and righteousness have once again prevailed over injustice and wrongdoing,” Arroyo said in a statement.

“I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Honorable Members of the Supreme Court for finally stopping the persecution I had unjustly gone through the last five years. My most profound appreciation to His Excellency Rodrigo Duterte for allowing due process to take its course,” she said.

“With the High Tribunal rendering a final decision on this unfortunate episode, I sincerely hope that everyone will respect and recognize the truth that has been established,” she added.

Aides said Arroyo’s priority is to have her medical condition, cervical spondylosis, checked. If freed this week, she will have the chance to attend next Monday’s State of the Nation Address.

READ MORE...

One of Arroyo’s lawyers, Raul Lambino, broke the news early on Tuesday of the 11-4 Supreme Court vote acquitting and freeing the former President.

“Naiyak po siya, siyempre lahat ng mga kasama namin rito sa magandang balitang dumating sa atin. Para sa akin, malaya na ang dating Pangulo (She was in tears along with the rest of us because of the good news that reached us. As far as I am concerned, the former President is free),” Lambino said in a radio interview.

Arroyo however will have to wait for at least a day as the official text of the Supreme Court ruling was not released on Tuesday, said Laurence Arroyo, her defense lawyer (not related).

The copy of the ruling is needed to secure the former President’s release papers from the Sandiganbayan that tried her for plunder over her alleged misuse of funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

‘Good Friday over, resurrection has come’


Estelito Mendoza: GMA's Good Friday is over, her resurrection has come ...

Former solicitor general Estelito Mendoza, a top-notch lawyer who was part of the Arroyo legal team, said the ruling was significant as the former President did not even have to present evidence.

Arroyo sought and was granted a demurrer to evidence, arguing that the prosecution had a weak case.

“From inception there was no basis for her to be imprisoned or detained … There could not have been a more unjust situation,” Mendoza told reporters at the VMMC.

“Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Good Friday is finally over. Her resurrection has come.

Unfortunately it has been a long Good Friday through a Calvary made by man,” he added.

Mendoza said Arroyo might attend the next National Security Council meeting.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, spokesman for former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, said the ruling was a validation that “the charges against [Arroyo] are nothing more than disingenuous attempts at political persecution by a corrupt and inept Aquino administration.”

“We all join the new government in its fight against criminality, corruption and its economic and political reforms that will surely usher in a new golden age for our country and people,” he added.

‘Accept decision’

Malacañang, now occupied by the new administration of President Duterte, urged the public to accept the decision.

“The Supreme Court has spoken. Let us respect and abide by the High Court’s decision,” it said in a brief statement.

In a press conference in the Palace, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, who served in the Arroyo Cabinet, said he “rejoiced” over the SC decision.

“We see that justice has been served with the decision of the SC. Personally, I rejoiced over this decision,” said Dureza, who served as press secretary and peace adviser under Arroyo.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said “it’s about time” the high court acquitted Arroyo.

“All the respondents have been released … In a conspiracy, the act of one is the act of all.

The reverse is true. The innocence of one is the innocence of all,” Panelo added.

Trier of facts


DE LIMA

Senator Leila de Lima, who ordered Arroyo’s arrest as Justice secretary under the Aquino administration, cast doubt on Tuesday’s court decision, saying: “Why do they have to wait for the change of administration to issue that ruling?”

“It is disappointing. It is disheartening. What is happening?” she commented in an interview with reporters.

De Lima said the Supreme Court had assumed the role of “trier of facts,” instead of leaving it up to the Sandiganbayan, which originally junked Arroyo’s demurrer.
 


Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate

Rep. Carlos Zarate of the Bayan Muna party-list group expressed “grave disappointment” at the dismissal of the plunder case.

“More could have been done to strengthen the case and make the former President accountable. Unfortunately, it seems that the previous Aquino administration was merely contented in keeping her politically paralyzed in the past six years rather than obtaining a conviction,” he said in a statement.

Former Davao City representative Prospero Nograles, who was Speaker under Arroyo, said the former leader will now have the chance to set the record straight—that the foundations of country’s economic gains were laid down during her rule.

“I am happy that she can now continue serving our nation without any restriction. With her release from the Veterans Hospital after four years of hospital arrest, she can again join debates and discussions in Congress to share her expertise not only as former president but as one of the country’s best economist,” he said.

-----------------------

RELATED(2) FROM THE TRIBUNE

No vindictive agenda for GMA Written by Ted Tuvera Sunday, 24 July 2016 00:00



Freed after four years of detention, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is not expected to seek vindication from the court on her long ordeal under former President Aquino and she would instead offer forgiving hands to her successor, one of Arroyo’s counsel said yesterday.

Lawyer Lawrence Arroyo, in a chance interview, told the Daily Tribune that Aquino should also show his willingness to reconcile with his predecessor.

“It takes two to tango, as they say. But as far as I’m concerned, a reconciliation is possible. Mrs. Arroyo is not a vindictive person,” Arroyo, who act as spokesman for the former President’s legal team, said.

Arroyo said that his client, who’s now 72 years old and is a reelected Pampanga lawmaker, is not even considering filing damages or charges in any way against those who prosecuted her in the last six years, primarily Aquino who cites Arroyo whenever he speaks about his administration’s anti-corruption efforts.

Neither would the former President run after Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima who was instrumental in barring her from leaving the country to seek medical treatment abroad.

“No, we’re not even, and Mrs. Arroyo herself, considering to file charges against anybody yet. Maybe, we have to celebrate this actual victory and justice for our former President who have had too much in the past four years of hospital detention,” he said.

But it seems that reconciliation is far-fetched as far as Aquino is concerned.

It is noted that Aquino, who himself is now facing plunder and graft charges over the more serious offense of diverting billions of pesos from the yearly budget to the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), questioned the fairness of the SC decisions freeing Arroyo.



DAP has been deemed to be illegal by the Supreme Court, is frustrated with the High Court’s decision to absolve Arroyo from the P366 million-worth plunder accusations of mismanaging intelligence funds disbursed to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

“By ordering the release and exoneration of Mrs. Arroyo, what is the Supreme Court saying: That nothing anomalous transpired? That no crime happened? That no one should be held to account? That the funds were used properly?” a frustrated Aquino cried on Thursday.

Aquino’s trophy lost

Aquino, all throughout his regime, has blamed Arroyo for everything that’s criticized or questioned of his policies and projects.
But Arroyo’s camp advised Aquino to stop rubbing salt on the wound with his insistence on the year’s injustice imposed on Arroyo.

“Mr. Aquino should respect the Supreme Court. It underwent all the necessary processes. Former President Arroyo never bothered anybody to get her acquittal,” the lawyer remarked.

Mrs. Arroyo used to be Aquino’s economics professor at the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU).

What could have riled Aquino, was Arroyo’s critique of Aquino’s economic policies or the absence of these through a dissertation called “It’s the Economy, Student”.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Arroyo’s legal mouthpiece hinted that she’s interested to personally meet and greet President Duterte who has been openly sympathetic towards her.

“Well, they’ll be meeting this Monday at the (House of Representatives for the State of the Nation Address). I think Mrs. Arroyo’s looking forward to meet the President personally,” Atty. Arroyo said.

“There’s no reason to avoid a meeting with the new leader,” he added.

It is recalled that Duterte, during the campaign season, expressed his preference that Arroyo be released. In turn, Mrs. Arroyo expressed her support to the Duterte administration.

A picture earlier posted on Arroyo lawyer Raul Lambino’s Facebook account showed the former President posing, along with her supporters, with the patented Duterte fist.

Most of Duterte’s cabinet members also served during the Arroyo administration.

But it seems that the camp of Mrs. Arroyo should remain vigilant as a looming case - now under preliminary investigation - at the table of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales is mushrooming its way to perhaps retain Arroyo under arrest.

The Office of the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office (FIO) is looking into another plunder and malversation complaint against Mrs. Arroyo which, in a press conference last Wednesday, is being reviewed by Carpio-Morales.

Filed before the Ombudsman central office, the new complaint stemmed from the alleged misuse of the PCSO’s confidential intelligence fund (CIF) worth P57 million from 2004 to 2007.

But GMA’s legal camp is ready for the legal move, lawyer Arroyo pointed out.

“Once again, here they are. But this time, its even a weaker case. They are claiming that illegally disbursed was at around P35 million. Well, that does not even qualify as a case for plunder,” he said, noting that the amount robbed to qualify for plunder should be P50 million or more.

“Besides that, there’s no competent evidence to prove that Mrs. Arroyo did pocket anything,” lawyer Arroyo added, also invoking double jeopardy.

Double jeopardy is a procedural defence that forbids a defendant from being tried again on the same (or similar) charges in the same case following a legitimate acquittal or conviction.

The lawyer said Arroyo is not likely to seek reparation for her detention although she is likely qualified to get state compensation under the law.

Enacted in 1992, Republic Act 7309 created the Board of Claims under the Department of Justice to facilitate the granting of compensation for victims of unjust imprisonment or detention and victims of violent crimes.

“A person who was unjustly accused convicted and imprisoned and subsequently released by virtue of a judgment of acquittal,” the law said as one of the conditions for compensation grants.


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Not over yet: Gloria Arroyo under probe anew for alleged PCSO plunder, Ombudsman says Published July 20, 2016 5:06pm By ELIZABETH MARCELO, GMA News


OMBUDSMAN MORALES AND ARROYO

The Supreme Court may have already dismissed the plunder case against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in connection with the alleged misuse of intelligence funds but she remains under investigation by the Ombudsman in connection with a similar complaint involving the same agency.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales confirmed that Arroyo is currently being investigated by her office for another plunder complaint still in connection with the alleged malversation of intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office while she was president.

“This is under preliminary investigation, I can’t give you the amount but it covers years 2004 to 2007,” Morales said.

“Assuming that we can prove that there was ransacking of public fund, after the preliminary investigation and we believe probable cause lies, we will bring it to the court,” she added.

It was in June of this year when Mrs. Arroyo’s lawyer, Laurence Arroyo, told GMA News Online that the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office (FIO) filed another plunder and malversation complaint against the former president.


LAWRENCE ARROYO RAPPLER.COM FILE PHOTO

Filed before the Ombudsman central office, attorney Arroyo said the new complaint stemmed from the alleged misuse of the PCSO confidential intelligence fund (CIF) worth P57 million from 2004 to 2007.

Attorney Arroyo said they received a copy of the complaint on June 3 and was given until June 28 to file a counter-affidavit.

“I don’t know what motivated the FIO to file this complaint. But, in the words of Eliot Ness in the movie Untouchables, ‘We will not stop fighting until the fighting is done’,” Attorney Arroyo said in a text message to GMA News Online.

Case dismissed

In a vote of 11-4 the SC on Tuesday dismissed the plunder case before the Sandiganbayan against Arroyo and her co-accused, former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) budget and accounts manager Benigno Aguas, due to the “insufficiency of evidence” of the prosecution team.

The dismissed case, which has been pending before the Sandiganbayan First Division since 2012, stemmed from the alleged misuse of P366-million worth of PCSO’s intelligence fund from 2008 to 2010.

In the same press conference, Morales maintained that the prosecution was able to present strong evidence against Mrs. Arroyo and Aguas that warrants their conviction.

Morales said her office will study the possibility of filing motion for reconsideration on the SC’s ruling.

Arroyo is also facing cases of graft and violation of the Code of Conduct for Public Officials in another division of the Sandiganbayan.

The cases are in connection with the alleged anomalous $329-million nation broadband deal with Chinese company Zhing Xing Telecommunications Equipment Inc. (ZTE) in 2007.

However, records from the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division, which is handling the cases showed that Arroyo had already posted bail on March 13, 2012.

Earlier this month, Arroyo and her co-accused in the cases, husband Jose Miguel Mike Arroyo and former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos, filed their respective demurrer, seeking the dismissal of the cases based on the supposed weak evidence of the prosecution team. —NB, GMA News

------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Morales to Arroyo: Not so fast 2ND PLUNDER CASE READIED VS EX-PRESIDENT

SHARES: 112 VIEW COMMENTS
By: DJ Yap
@deejayapINQ
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:32 AM July 21st, 2016


A vendor looks at a tarpaulin declaring support for former President Gloria Arroyo at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. The Supreme Court junks the plunder case versus Arroyo and ordered for her release. INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

A new plunder case may be in store for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, according to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, who is unbowed by the Supreme Court decision absolving the former President on charges that she pocketed P366 million in state lottery funds.

“Assuming we can prove there was pillaging or ransacking of the public treasury,” Morales told a press conference on Wednesday, Arroyo, a reelected Pampanga representative, could end up back in detention.

As of Wednesday, the 69-year-old Arroyo was still awaiting her release papers at Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City where she had been detained since 2012 because she was suffering from severe spinal problems.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court announced Arroyo’s acquittal on plunder by an 11-4 vote without immediately releasing the decision.

Morales said state prosecutors were conducting a preliminary investigation of another case against Arroyo that also involved the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds.

“I do not recall the amount but it covers the period of 2004 to 2007,” she said.

In the case, which was thrown out by the Supreme Court, Arroyo was accused of diverting P366 million from the PCSO’s confidential intelligence funds for her personal use between January 2008 and June 2010.

Part of the funds were supposed to have gone to the National Bureau of Investigation and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, but the money was allegedly coursed to the Office of the President.

New case

Morales said the new case would involve an amount upward of P50 million, qualifying it for plunder, a nonbailable offense.

“If after preliminary investigation we believe probable cause lies, we will certainly hale her to court,” Morales said.

On the Supreme Court decision, Morales insisted, “We were able to prove the guilt of GMA beyond reasonable doubt.”

“I can say we were able to present strong evidence through 630-plus documentary exhibits and testimonials, which are reflected in 43 transcripts of office stenographic notes, as well as records from A to Z, consisting of 40 plus folders,” Morales said. “To us, these are exhaustive records.”

Disappointed

Morales admitted that the prosecutors were in low spirits because of the high tribunal’s ruling.

“It’s just natural they are disappointed. They are disheartened, but they know that they should move on. This is not the end of the line. We have other options, one of which or two of which we will exercise,” she said.

Asked to elaborate on those options, Morales only said they might file a motion for reconsideration once they had received a copy of the decision, and determined whether an appeal was “warranted.”

“We have many legal options. I’m not going to place our cards on the table. I would not like to open the eyes of our detractors,” she said.

Morales noted that one of Arroyo’s coaccused in the case, Rosario Uriarte, was still in hiding after so many years.

“And as the saying goes, if you are innocent, you are bold as a lion, but flight can also indicate guilt—I’m only saying indicate,” she said.

She also noted denials on the side of the AFP and the NBI that the agencies made any request for intelligence funds, or that they had been a beneficiary of any amount from the PCSO.

The Ombudsman also cited the testimony of another accused, Benigno Aguas, who certified under oath that P244 million of the PCSO’s funds went to the Office of the President.

“And P140-plus million of that [was] given to the Office of the President in January 2010 up to June 2010, which was parenthetically an election period,” she said.

Act of one, act of all

On the Arroyo defense’s argument that the prosecution failed to prove that the former President herself got the money, the Ombudsman said: “You will recall that the charge is for conspiracy, act of one is act of all.”

“There is a series of acts that would show there was conspiracy and the accused were guilty of having pillaged the treasury beyond the amount of P50 million,” Morales said.

She bristled at a question about whether she ought to resign due to her failure to prosecute Arroyo even when she had six years to do so.

“Do I have to win all cases I file? Do you have to fault prosecutors if they lose cases? Do you have to fault the Sandiganbayan if their decisions are reversed?” she said.


RAPPLER.COM

Netizens dismayed with SC ruling on Arroyo's plunder case Rappler.com Published 1:54 PM, July 19, 2016 Updated 1:54 PM, July 19, 2016



MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court's ruling that acquitted former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of plunder triggers a flurry of negative comments from netizens

Netizens expressed their disappointment on the Supreme Court's decision to acquit Arroyo of plunder as it granted her plea to drop the case against her on Tuesday, July 19.

This sets in motion her release from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, where she has been detained since October 2012.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, the legal spokesman of Arroyo's husband former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, hailed the SC ruling, saying in a statement that justice has been served.

Topacio added that the ruling has validated their claim "that the charges against (Arroyo) are nothing more than disingenuous attempts at political persecution by a corrupt and inept Aquino administration intent on covering up its gross lack of accomplishments by harassing its political opponents."

While the news came as a cause for celebration for the Arroyo camp, it triggered a flurry of negative comments from netizens who took to social media their frustration on the Supreme Court ruling.

Many netizens also noted that the Supreme Court ruling did not come as a surprise. This is especially after President Rodrigo Duterte claimed he was ready to grant the former president pardon during the campaign season.

READ MORE...

Here are some tweets from netizens:




It was President Benigno Aquino III who jailed Arroyo and subsequently led the impeachment charge against her appointed chief justice, the late Renato Corona.

Do you agree with the SC ruling that acquitted Arroyo of plunder? Share your thoughts on X! – Rappler.com

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Drilon to Ombudsman: Locate ‘missing link’ vs Arroyo By: Maila Ager @MAgerINQ INQUIRER.net
02:02 PM July 21st, 2016


Outgoing Senate President Franklin Drilon. JOAN BONDOC/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The Office of the Ombudsman should locate and present to the court a former official of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), an alleged “missing link” in the plunder case against former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, outgoing Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Thursday.

Drilon said former PCSO General Manager Rosario Uriarte was the key witness after she implicated Arroyo in the alleged misuse of the agency’s intelligence funds.

“Rosario Uriarte was the principal resource person in the Senate investigation. She was the key witness who said that it was former President Arroyo who personally approved the PCSO intelligence budget. But I do not know, I do not think that she was presented as a witness in the case and so there was no testimony to that effect…” he said at a regular forum in the Senate on Thursday.

“I would urge the Ombudsman at this point to check whether or not Uriarte has left the country or her whereabouts. If she has left the country and that can easily be checked and if she’s in a country where we have an extradition treaty, the Ombudsman should take effort now to have her brought back to the country so that she can testify either as a state witness or that she can be confronted with the documents and her testimony in the Senate hearing,” the senator said.

READ: SC orders release of Arroyo

Drilon said Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales can make an official request to the Department of Justice or the Department of Foreign Affairs to locate Uriarte.

“If for example, just theoretically, if Uriarte is found in the United States, we have an existing extradition treaty with the US, a request can be made for Uriarte to be brought back here,” he said.

He could not say, however, if Uriarte’s testimony in court could help strengthen the case against Arroyo or if the Ombudsman could still appeal the Supreme Court’s junking of the case against the former President.

READ: Morales to Arroyo: Not so fast

Drilon, former justice secretary, could not also say whether or not there was a failure on the part of the Ombudsman as prosecutor that led to the dismissal of the case against Arroyo.

“That question requires an assessment of how the Supreme Court arrived at that decision because it was a what we call a demurrer to the evidence, which means that the view of the defense, of the accused, is that if they will not present evidence in their behalf, the evidence submitted by the prosecution is not sufficient to convict and therefore, the case should be dismissed,” he said.

“From that, you will realize that what was required was an appreciation of the evidence presented. I cannot pass judgment on whether or not there was enough evidence presented because I’ve not seen the decision.”

“But I can say that I am saddened and disappointed but as an officer of the court, as a lawyer, as a former Secretary of Justice, I respect the decision of the Supreme Court, especially that I have not even seen the decision, read the decision, but I assume that they used their knowledge of the law, the assessment of the evidence presented in order to come up with a decision. I am disappointed but I respect the decision,” Drilon added. CDG/rga

RELATED STORIES

Arroyo charged with plunder in misuse of PCSO funds

Ex-PCSO GM spent P338M more than was allowed


GETREALPHILIPPINES.COM

Gloria Arroyo’s acquittal proves Noynoy Aquino is a failure July 20, 2016by Ilda


Gloria Arroyo: Her patience and perseverance paid off in proving Noynoy’s failures.

The cornerstone of former President Benigno Simeon Aquino’s so-called fight against corruption — the jailing of his predecessor, former President Gloria Arroyo — just got shot down by the Supreme Court. The last remaining case against Arroyo, which was the plunder case over the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds, was finally dismissed by the high court. The decision is proof that BS Aquino did not have the goods on Arroyo from the very start.

He just used the promise of jailing Arroyo to win the gullible voters over to his “cause” way back in 2010.

BS Aquino made prosecuting Arroyo the rallying point of his campaign and then of his administration. He made it look like he was after the “big fish”. But it was obvious to some people that it was persecution that he was after. He didn’t care about due process as long as he could show Arroyo detained or locked up. He didn’t care about her medical condition and neither did he show respect for a former teacher, ally and head of state.

At first, the public was pleased with his bold move. They were impressed by the speed with which his minions managed to file a case against her to prevent her departure overseas. As mentioned before, back in 2011, there was pandemonium at the Manila international airport when former Department of Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila De Lima panicked after she found out Arroyo was leaving the country and ordered officers at the airport to help bar her from leaving for Singapore.

And with the assistance of the media in inciting anger against Arroyo, some members of the public also joined the fray — besieging her at the airport. Her frail and helpless appearance on a wheelchair did not stop them from acting like a lynch mob. The scene resulted in a standoff because Arroyo’s supporters insisted on her Constitutional right to travel abroad.

De Lima’s initial violation back then was in defying the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order on the travel ban against Arroyo. De Lima even risked disbarment for ignoring the highest court’s order.

Fast forward to today, the Supreme Court’s decision did not surprise most people. Many eventually realised that the cases against Arroyo were trumped-up. One by one, the cases were dismissed due to a lack of evidence and witnesses to testify.

READ MORE...

As written before back on 2013, years of Malacañang’s unyielding commitment to putting GMA behind bars had only resulted in the dismissal of all the charges. Obviously, the charges against GMA had been filed even when the evidence was still “half-cooked”. Evidently, the evidence was based on “innuendoes, half-truths and propaganda”.


Noynoy Aquino: A victim of his own arrogance and vindictive nature

It seems the only people who were shocked that the last remaining case against Arroyo was dismissed are BS Aquino’s most rabid supporters. Both De Lima and Ombudsman Conchita Morales expressed their dismay that the case was dismissed.

De Lima kept implying that President Rodrigo Duterte, an Arroyo ally, had something to do with her acquittal. Frankly, they are behaving like they received an uppercut – a blow they didn’t see coming. Goes to show they aren’t very smart at all.

De Lima as a lawyer and Morales as former Supreme Court judge should have realised that the case against her wasn’t water tight. The prosecution did not do their job properly:


DE LIMA

The evidence against her was weak, said [Arroyo] through her lawyers. She argued that “not a single exhibit of the 637 exhibits offered by the prosecution nor a single testimony of the 21 witnesses of the prosecution was offered by the prosecution to prove that [Arroyo] amassed, accumulated, or acquired even a single peso of the alleged ill-gotten wealth.”

The prosecution also failed to show or detail the paper trail to prove that Arroyo committed the charges she was indicted for, said the Pampanga lawmaker.

Arroyo has been vindicated, indeed. She survived five years detained at the Veterans Hospital with very little contact with her loved ones. She lost five years of her life – years that could have been spent as a productive citizen.

She could have had her medical condition fixed abroad like she wanted to back in 2011. Not only did she waste five years of her life detained, her reputation was also tainted.

While some have finally realised that she was a victim of BS Aquino’s personal vendetta, there are some people — those who were gullible enough to believe the lies — who still think she is guilty even when the cases against her were dismissed.

For that, Arroyo should consider filing a case against BS Aquino to compensate her. She could use the United Nations Human Rights Council ruling in 2015 that the BS Aquino government needed to compensate her for damages during what they consider to be illegal detention.

Despite what Arroyo went through, she is actually luckier than former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. Corona passed away without getting the chance to clear his name. Corona, who was removed from office at the order of BS Aquino, was also a victim of public persecution. The cases against him were also dismissed.

Arroyo’s patience and perseverance paid off. BS Aquino and his rabid supporters look like fools now. In his singular focus on persecuting Arroyo, BS Aquino became a victim of his own arrogance and vindictive nature.

They proved that haste is waste. Had they been more diligent and worked harder at building a stronger case against Arroyo, they could have won.

But we all know BS Aquino does not have the discipline and foresight to win anything on his own. He was just lucky to ride the wave of his mother’s popularity. Too bad his luck has finally run out.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES

De Lima ‘ignorant’ of SC powers – ex-DOJ chief Perez July 20, 2016 10:32 pm
by JOMAR CANLAS, SENIOR REPORTER AND REINA C. TOLENTINO, REPORTER


'NANI' PEREZ

A predecessor of former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima slammed the now neophyte senator for being ignorant of the “vast powers” that allowed an overwhelming majority of the Supreme Court (SC) to acquit former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of plunder.

Hernando Perez, who served as Justice secretary in the early years of the Arroyo Administration from 2001 to 2003, also warned that criminal counter-charges for incriminating “innocent persons” could be filed against de Lima, who orchestrated Arroyo’s arrest for an earlier case alleging electoral sabotage as Department of Justice chief of the previous Aquino Administration.

The same charge could also be filed against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, the prosecutor of the dismissed plunder case at the Sandiganbayan, the anti-graft court, he said.

Perez lambasted de Lima for casting doubts on the Supreme Court ruling when she claimed on Tuesday that the high tribunal had become a “trier of facts” and should not have reviewed Arroyo’s case.


DE LIMA

“While it is true that the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts, it has the power to re-examine the evidence presented at the Sandiganbayan,” said Perez, now president of the privately owned University of Batangas.

“She (de Lima) is wrong. The Supreme Court has the power to review the case via a petition for certiorari,” Perez added.

Under the power of judicial review provided under Article XIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, the high court can review cases when there is “grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.”

As to the possible suits against de Lima and Morales, Perez said that a person who had filed malicious charges without any evidence could be charged with malicious prosecution, which warrants damages under the Civil Code.

They can also be slapped with a criminal case for “Incriminatory Machinations” under the Revised Penal Code.

“It is possible that they can be charged if proven that the case filed against GMA is without any substantial evidence,” Perez told The Manila Times.

Incriminating an innocent person, under the Penal Code, happens when “Any person who, by any act not constituting perjury, shall directly incriminate or impute to an innocent person the commission of a crime.”

It is punishable by up to 30 days in prison.

Arroyo can even argue that the case filed against her by the Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman was “political,” the former House Deputy Speaker and representative of Batangas said.

De Lima orchestrated the filing of electoral sabotage cases in the Pasay Regional Trial Court against Arroyo, which prevented her from leaving the country in 2011 despite the fact the “watchlist” order of de Lima was stopped by a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court.

De Lima, invoking supposed “residual powers” of the Executive branch, defied the SC order and stopped Arroyo from leaving the country.

Eventually, the non-bailable electoral sabotage cases against Arroyo and former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos were dismissed for lack of evidence.

Afterwards, Morales orchestrated the filing of another non-bailable criminal charge of plunder before the Sandiganbayan, involving the alleged misuse of P366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) from 2008 to 2010.

This was the case thrown out by the SC in an 11-4 vote that cleared Arroyo and former PCSO official Benigno Aguas via a demurrer to evidence, in which the defendants sought the dismissal of charges due to weak evidence presented by the prosecution.

Morales firm


MORALES, ARROYO

Morales on Wednesday stood firm that her office had presented strong evidence against Arroyo, and said another plunder charge was being readied against the former President, also involving PCSO funds, amounting to P57 million for the years 2004 to 2007.

“We were able to present strong evidence consisting of 630-plus documentary exhibits, of testimony of so many witnesses, which are reflected in 43 transcripts of stenographic notes, as well as the records of the case from A to Z consisting of 40-plus folder records of the case,” Morales told reporters in a news conference.

The Ombudsman said she has yet to receive a copy of the SC ruling acquitting Arroyo but will consider filing a motion for reconsideration, among other legal options.

“Marami, marami tayong [We have a lot of] legal options. I’m not going to place our cards on the table. I don’t like to open the eyes of our detractors,” she said.

But Arroyo’s lawyer Laurence Arroyo (not related) said an acquittal cannot be reconsidered by the courts, to avoid double jeopardy, citing a ruling that Morales herself signed when she was Associate Justice of the high court.

“In Lejano v People, GR 176389, Jan.18 2011, an en banc case, concurred in by then Justice Morales, the Supreme Court held that, as a rule, a judgment of acquittal cannot be reconsidered because it places the accused under double jeopardy. To reconsider a judgment of acquittal places the accused twice in jeopardy of being punished for the crime of which the accused has already been absolved,” he said in a statement.

4 Responses to De Lima ‘ignorant’ of SC powers – ex-DOJ chief Perez
Modie says:
July 21, 2016 at 7:56 am
Ang mindset ba ni Morales si Aquino pa din ang amo niya? Nagpapakatanga. Bago na nag Presidente hoy!
Reply
Jose A. Oliveros says:
July 21, 2016 at 5:55 am
While the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts, yet it may – in the words of Justice Jose P. Laurel – “determine for itself the guilt or innocence of the defendant and may modify or reverse the conclusion of fact laid down by the trial court if there is some fact or circumstance of weight and influence which has been overlooked or the significance of which has been misinterpreted.” (People v. Marcos, G. R. No. 47388, Oct. 20, 1940)
Something for Sen. Leila de Lima to ponder in view of her criticism of the recent Supreme Court 11-4 decision, dismissing the plunder case against former Pres. GMA.
Reply
fyi says:
July 21, 2016 at 5:02 am
Morales and De Lima should be removed from their positions as soon as possible.
Reply
Johnny Ramos says:
July 21, 2016 at 1:19 am
Maybe because of Ombudsman Morales aged she is suffering memory lapses. She should know by now that Pnoy is gone and no one will help her to intimidate the Justices of the Sandigan Courts. Take note that Morales did not excel as litigation or a defence lawyer before.


MANILA STANDARD COMMENTARY

The resurrection of Gloria Arroyo posted July 21, 2016 at 12:01 am by Emil Jurado


EMIL JURADO

THE majority decision of the Supreme Court dismissing the plunder charges against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for transferring P366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office proves that the rule of law still prevails in our country.

It was a difficult journey for the former President, who became the poster child for BS Aquino III’s supposed straight and narrow path.

Recall how Mr. Aquino’s attack dog, former Justice secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima, stopped Mrs. Arroyo in her tracks when the latter was on her way to get medical attention abroad.

That was a clear violation of human rights. It was also an act of vindictiveness and persecution that made Mrs. Arroyo languish under hospital detention for years.

Just what Gloria did to BS Aquino that made him so vindictive against her remains a mystery.

The vindictiveness of BS Aquino became even more pronounced when Mrs. Arroyo’s co-accused were granted bail.

Santa Banana, how could GMA be more guilty than her co-accused when evidence proved she did profit a single centavo from the transfer? In fact, as the Supreme Court had found, approving the transfer was only a ministerial act on her part.

Aquino also went on to condemn Gloria for the many problems that confronted him during his administration, referring to her nine years in office as a lost decade. What baloney.

Records show that it was Aquino’s predecessor who instituted economic reforms that strengthened the country’s economic fundamentals.

Would you believe that even when BS Aquino was already stepping down, he even directed the Sandiganbayan to convict Arroyo? This made GMA lawyers elevate the plunder case to the Supreme Court and seek a demurrer of evidence or dismissal of the case.


MORALES

Now, we hear dismal groans from Senator De Lima against the Supreme Court decision, and also from Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, another Aquino attack dog. They just can’t take it, can they?

Former Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza, Gloria’s lead counsel, put it so well when he said that after Good Friday comes Easter Sunday. And I agree with him.

READ MORE...

President Duterte may have said earlier that as a lawyer and former prosecutor, he found the evidence against Mrs. Arroyo very weak. He even wanted to pardon her but Gloria did not want pardon, because then she would have to admit her guilt. She wanted a dismissal of the charges against her.

Santa Banana, would you believe that Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, both Aquino appointees, tried to postpone the decision of the High Court but failed? Another Associate Justice, Benjamin Caguioa, a former classmate of BS Aquino and his appointee, also voted against Gloria. This only means these justices remain loyal to him who appointed them.

Reports say Gloria may get back at her tormentors by filing cases against them. I don’t believe that Gloria is that vengeful.

* * *

It’s sad to think that the late former Chief Justice Renato Corona did not live long enough to see the vindication of former President Arroyo. He, too, was a victim of vindictiveness by the BS Aquino administration.

He was impeached, tried and convicted for an unimpeachable offense. His sin? Not stating in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth all his peso and dollar accounts.

We all know now that BS Aquino III went after Corona by bribing lawmakers. After Corona’s conviction and ouster, BS Aquino packed the Supreme Court with his favorites, even defying tradition by naming a junior associate and bypassing the most senior of them.

Santa Banana, why was BS Aquino so vindictive against Corona? The latter dared to raise the compensation to be given to Hacienda Luisita tenants after Sereno objected to it. It seemed that BS Aquino could not forgive Corona for going against the Cojuangcos in Hacienda Luisita.

My gulay, the Bureau of Internal Revenue even filed tax evasion cases against Corona. The former chief justice was said to have died of a heart attack. It could well be a broken heart.

* * *

The new Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo wants the Philippines to host the next Miss Universe contest. And Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach even had an audience with President Duterte to push for it.

But are we ready for such a world event when there are flight cancellations and delays just because of a small crack at the main runway at Naia, diverting flights to Mactan and Clark? My gulay, the airport congestion is bad enough. We don’t need this additional trouble.

Then there’s the problem of traffic gridlocks and nightmarish traffic along Edsa, not to mention ongoing buildings of overseas and flyovers that screws up traffic flow to more than hours.

What about all the squatter colonies that foreign tourists and visitor see along the way? Will they again be hidden from the visitors as before?

How about the street children and homeless people living along avenues and highways? Will they be rounded up again by the Department of Social Welfare and Development?

Is the Duterte administration ready to show the world that we are still a Third World country?


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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