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SC affirms decision to acquit Ms. Arroyo

BAGUIO CITY – The Supreme Court (SC), voting 11-4 during its summer session here yesterday, affirmed its 2016 decision that dismissed, for insufficiency of evidence, the plunder case filed against former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in connection with alleged misuse of P366 million in funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

A summary of the resolution released by the SC’s public information office (PIO) stated:

“The Court DENIED the People’s motion for reconsideration of the Court’s July 19, 2016 Decision for lack of merit. The Court noted that its Decision had granted petitioners’ respective Demurrers to the Evidence which resulted in their acquittal and thus any attempt to reconsider the Decision would amount to double jeopardy.”

Aside from the case of Mrs. Arroyo, also dismissed was the plunder case of Benigno B. Aguas, former PCSO budget and accounts manager.

Those who voted to affirm last year’s decision in the case of Mrs. Arroyo were Justices Presbitero J. Velasco Jr., Teresita J. Leonardo de Castro, Diosdado M. Peralta, Lucas P. Bersmin (the writer of the decision and resolution), Mariano C. del Castillo, Jose Catral Mendoza, Bienvenido L. Reyes, Estela M. Perlas Bernabe, Francis H. Jardeleza, Samuel R. Martires, and Noel G. Tijam.

Those who dissented were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, Senior Justice Antonio T. Carpio, and Justices Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen and Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa. (REY PANALIGAN)