SORSOGON CITY – The Bayan Muna party-list group contended that the cases filed against former Pres. Gloria Arroyo and PCSO Manager Rosario Uriarte have strong legal basis.
“The complaint was filed on the basis of documents in our possession such as the PCSO Letter Memorandum requesting for intelligence funds with the signed approval of then Pres. Arroyo in the marginal portion, the COA reports, and the transcripts of the Senate hearing where Ms. Uriarte admitted to technical malversation – at the very least –
that the intelligence funds taken from operations funds were used for operational expenses like blood money and relief operations,” Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares said.
Under Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code, public funds spent for items other than those they were intended for constitutes malversation.
“I doubt if they can liquidate properly how the P325 million in intelligence funds were spent. In fact, during the hearing, Ms. Uriarte said that her only copy of the report on the P150 million intelligence fund for 2010 could not be presented in the Senate because it is with is with former Pres. Arroyo. General allegations, such as bomb threats, terrorism and destabilization cannot be the liquidation contemplated by law. Under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code a public official is deemed to have malversed public funds if he or she could not account for it upon demand,” Colmenares said.
Bayan Muna also countered allegations by Sec. Raul Gonzalez and other members of Arroyo bloc that the complaint is baseless.
“If our colleagues find nothing suspicious about realigning operations funds to intelligence funds only to spend it on operations funds, then there is a problem in their legal analytical skills. If they find nothing suspicious about the fact that a P150-million project has a “one and only copy” report and the said copy was submitted, not to the PCSO board, but to the former President, then maybe their tolerance level for graft cases is fairly high,” Colmenares said.
Bayan Muna has been calling for the filing of cases against Pres. Arroyo and her cohorts in their campaign against impunity.
“There was nothing special about our filing of plunder case against Arroyo and Uriarte on the PCSO issue especially since Bayan Muna has a privilege speech on the issue as early as May this year. We have been filing impeachment complaints against Arroyo since 2006, we filed the NBN-ZTE case against her in July 1, 2010 and we will keep on filing cases as long as there are strong legal and factual bases for the these,” Colmenares concluded.