Estelito Mendoza: ‘Oppressive’ Ombudsman probing Arroyo again
MANILA, Philippines – Veteran lawyer Estelito Mendoza on Friday, July 22, called out Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales for going after former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after the Supreme Court (SC) had just cleared her of plunder.
“What she (Morales) wants to do is that when she (Arroyo) is acquitted and walks free, she will immediately handcuff her and put her to jail again! I do not think there can be anything more oppressive than that, if not cruel,” Mendoza, one of Arroyo's lawyers, told reporters a day after the Pampanga lawmaker was freed.
Voting 11-4, the SC ruled on Tuesday that Arroyo and her co-accused Benigno Aguas did not acquire wealth from more than P365 million worth of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence funds from 2008 to 2010.
It was the Ombudsman who charged Arroyo and Aguas for plunder in 2012, leading to her 4-year hospital detention. (TIMELINE: Gloria Arroyo – from plunder to acquittal)
After Arroyo’s acquittal, Morales said they are still conducting a preliminary investigation into another plunder complaint against Arroyo, this time over P57 million in PCSO funds allegedly misappropriated from 2004 to 2007.
“I think that is very – I will put it a little strongly – very dismaying and if not, shocking. She should read the decision and she has filed the complaint similar to this,” said Mendoza, who served as solicitor general and as justice minister during the Marcos regime.
Lawyer Laurence Arroyo, another legal counsel of the former president, said they already filed a counteraffidavit to the complaint.
“So submitted na ‘yun for decision ano, and we’re hoping the Ombudsman will consider ‘yung aming counter-affidavit, ‘yung mga counter-arguments namin doon at saka ‘yung latest decision ng Korte Suprema na nagsasabi na ‘yung kanyang pagpirma sa request for intelligence funds is not an overt act. In other words, ‘di puwedeng gamiting ebidensiya in a conspiracy,” said the lawyer.
(That’s already submitted for decision and we’re hoping the Ombudsman will consider our counter-affidavit, counter-arguements, and even the latest decision of the SC saying that Arroyo’s signature in the request for intelligence funds is not an overt act. In other words, it cannot be used as evidence to prove a conspiracy.) – Rappler.com