By Joey Natividad
NAGA CITY (BicolToday.com/21-June-12) – Congressmen, belonging to the progressive bloc, want former President Gloria Magapagal-Arroyo be placed behind bars without bail while she goes to trial for plunder.
Bayan Muna Partylist Representatives Teddy Casiño and Neri Javier Colmenares on Tuesday (June 19) filed an Urgent Motion for Resolution asking the Ombudsman to resolve the complaint filed by Bayan Muna against former President Arroyo last year for the non-bailable offense of plunder and graft in connection with malversation of funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
The complaint came out during a Senate investigation, revealing that between PhP 150 to PhP 350 Million of the PCSO funds, including its “Public Relations Fund” were realigned to its supposed “intelligence funds” and, could no longer be traced. The progressive solons also asked the Ombudsman to investigate the other anomalies committed by PCSO officials in various contracts with Berjaya for the lotto machines used by the PCSO.
“We filed this case earlier than that of the NBN-ZTE complaint, but it seems that this one is gathering dust. The NBN-ZTE case is now being heard at the Sandiganbayan, and we also want this one to be resolved immediately considering that the case here is plunder. We believe that this is a very strong case against Gloria especially since her co-accused Uriarte admitted the irregularities under oath, and would be a very big push for our campaign for accountability,” said Casiño in an emailed statement .
“This complaint should be acted upon because this will put Gloria behind bars for a long time. While she dipped into PCSO funds by the millions of pesos, our sick countrymen suffered so much while availing of PCSO assistance that came in trickles,” he added.
In a related move, Representative Colmenares said the case filed for electoral sabotage is dependent on witnesses who could suddenly disappear, and there is a need to immediately file a plunder case to ensure that Arroyo will not be able to post bail.
“As for former PCSO Manager Rosario Uriarte, we know that she was used by Gloria to get what she wanted, this is the best time for the PCSO manager to tell all what she knew and turn state witness,” said Colmenares.
“Mrs. Uriarte can avail of the witness protection program, if she tells all so that she can help in stopping corruption and it would be a very big load off her conscience. She should think of the many that could have been saved by the PCSO funds rather than Gloria’s interests,” concluded Colmenares. [BicolToday.com]
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