Arroyo charged with misuse of funds

July 16, 2012 at 12:13 PM
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MANILA, Philippines, July 16 (UPI) -- Charges were filed against ex-Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and nine others for alleged misuse of about $8.74 million in lottery funds.

Arroyo is under hospital arrest at Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City for electoral sabotage during the 2007 senatorial election, the Manila Bulletin reported.

No bail was recommended for Arroyo or the other nine former state officials, most of whom had been with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

The plunder case was approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

Arroyo and the nine others charged were accused of conspiring and conniving to acquire ill-gotten wealth from the PCSO from January 2008-2010.

Rosario Uriarte, the former PCSO general manager, allegedly wrote several letters to Arroyo to authorize her to use intelligence funds for PCSO

The money was supposed to have been used "to monitor the PCSO's charitable activities and projects; to buy information to determine if the funds were being used for the purposes for which [they] were intended; to fund an investigation of how medicine given to beneficiaries marked [Masa Drugstore] had ended up in commercial markets, and to counter various scams victimizing lotto bettors and winners."

An investigation by a Senate committee found the money instead went toward purchasing relief goods and paying "blood money" for the freedom of detained overseas Philippine workers, the Bulletin said.

Along with Arroyo and Uriarte, the Office of the Ombudsman filed plunder charges against the PCSO assistant general manager for finance, Benigno Aguas, and former PCSO board members Sergio Valencia, Manuel Morato, Raymon Roquero, Maria Fatima Valdez and Jose R. Taruc V. Also charged were former Commission on Audit Chairman Reynaldo Villar and COA Region 5 head Nilda Plaras.

The COA officials were charged because of their "conspiracy and connivance," PCSO Director Aleta Tolentino said.

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