(from the office of GMA as of January 25, 2013)
NBN-ZTE BROADBAND CASE
ALLEGATION: The first graft case in court against President Arroyo alleged overpricing and bribery in a contract (eventually canceled) for China’s ZTE to build a national broadband network.
RESPONSE: The Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) dismissed the original case in April 2009, saying that “only surmises and conjectures have been presented to this panel for assessment. To be certain, these presumptions cannot be given any weight.”
STATUS: The OMB re-filed the case in December 2011. It is pending at the Fourth Division of the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court.
ELECTORAL SABOTAGE IN THE 2007 ELECTIONS
ALLEGATIONS: The first criminal case filed against Arroyo accused her of conspiring to rig the 2007 senatorial elections. The case is based solely on the testimony of former Maguindanao Provincial Engineer Norie Unas, who allegedly saw and heard Arroyo give then Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. instructions to tamper with the Maguindanao election results.
RESPONSE: The court cannot rely on Unas’s hearsay evidence; the Prosecution did not even present material evidence like tampered election returns, as proof of the cheating being alleged.
STATUS: Recognizing weak hearsay evidence, the court allowed Arroyo to post bail. It ruled that “unsupported by other evidence to corroborate [Unas’] testimony, the same could not be given such weight and probative value that will be sufficient to establish a strong evidence of guilt.” This case is still pending in Branch 112 of the Pasay Regional Trial Court.
ILOILO AIRPORT CASE
ALLEGATION: This plunder case filed against President Arroyo and several senior officials alleged conspiracy to plunder P72 million in capital gains tax allegedly due but not collected in the sale of the old Iloilo Airport land to Megaworld Corporation in October 2007.
STATUS: The five-page complaint was instantly dismissed by the Ombudsman in November 2011. According to the OMB Resolution, a “cursory look at the allegations made by complainant Lihaylihay shows that he did not allege, much less present any evidence, that either respondent Arroyo, Romulo, Ermita, Teves or Sevilla acquired ill-gotten wealth in the manner described under Section 1(d) of the Anti-Plunder Law.”
PHILIPPINE CHARITY SWEEPSTAKES FUNDS PLUNDER
ALLEGATION: Arroyo and top PCSO officials are charged with plunder for the alleged misuse of the confidential and intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
RESPONSE: The said disbursements were audited and approved by the Commission on Audit. Arroyo signed funding requests required by COA circulars, but she did not order or approve the release of the funds.
The first panel of OMB prosecutors found no probable cause to charge Arroyo with plunder since there was no proof of conversion of the funds being diverted to personal assets or spending of the accused.
Ombudsman Carpio Morales reversed the resolution of the first panel of prosecutors and ordered the filing of a no-bail plunder case soon after Arroyo was granted bail for the electoral sabotage case.
STATUS: Arroyo filed for bail with the Sandiganbayan court and for dismissal of the plunder charge with the Supreme Court, along with other accused, since the elements of plunder have not been established due to the conflicting OMB resolutions.
According to media reports, one co-accused has been detained and offered release and immunity if he would speak against Arroyo.
FERTILIZER FUND ANOMALIES
ALLEGATION: The case alleged plunder in approving the release of P728 million to local officials for the purchase of fertilizer and pesticides, with the illicit proceeds being used for the 2004 presidential election campaign.
RESPONSE: Arroyo herself had the anomalies investigated by the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission, which ended its probe when the Ombudsman conducted its own investigation.
Senator Richard Gordon, who headed the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigations on the scam in 2009, said there was no evidence that directly linked Arroyo to the alleged misuse of funds.
STATUS: OMB dismissed the plunder charge.
OWWA FUND ANOMALY
ALLEGATION: The case alleged the misuse of P550 million from the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration Fund for the purchase of vehicles in Philippine missions abroad and for the provision of health insurance coverage.
RESPONSE: The fund releases were allowed as part of the OWWA’s contingency fund for the overseas Filipino workers affected during the 2003 war in Iraq and Middle East crisis.
COA reported that the funds were properly liquidated and actually used in repatriating OFWs in Kuwait, Jordan, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon and Egypt.
The transfer of the funds was also in line with RA 7875 creating the National Health Insurance Program and EO 195 for compulsory health coverage of OFWs.
STATUS: OMB dismissed the graft and plunder charges and found no misappropriation since the funds reached its intended OFW beneficiaries.
FERTILIZER FUND SCAM
STATEMENT OF ATTY. FERDINAND TOPACIO, LEGAL COUNSEL AND SPOKESMAN OF FORMER FIRST GENTLEMAN JOSE MIGUEL ARROYO, ON THE DISMISSAL OF THE CHARGES AGAINST FORMER PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO IN CONNECTION WITH THE SO-CALLED FERTILIZER FUND MESS
“The former First Gentleman, Atty. Jose Miguel Arroyo, is gladdened and gratified with the dismissal by the Ombudsman today of the charges against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in connection with the use of the funds for the procurement of fertilizers amounting to 728 million pesos ‘for lack of any legal or factual bases.”
“Coming as it does on the heels of the dismissal of plunder charges against Mrs. Arroyo and her son Congressman Dato Arroyo in connection with the Libmonan-Cabusao dam also by the Ombudsman, a clear pattern of persecution emerges on the part of the present administration by way of filing Camoteng Cajoy Cases, hoping that one of them would hold water. Unfortunately for them, even the most rabid administration puppets find it impossible to find merit in these hastily-prepared, totally weird cases.
“Again, we thank the people who continue to stand with us, the decent people of society, who can see beyond the sanctimonious veneer of the Aquino government, and we are hopeful that after this benighted regime, real justice will triumph and all lies shall vanish. “
Detained former President Gloria Arroyo is elated over the Ombudsman’s decision to dismiss the graft case against her in connection with the 728M fertilizer fund scam.
Updated Case file as of December 2015