Prosecutors seek Interpol help in arrest of Arroyo's co-accused
MANILA, Philippines - Government prosecutors have asked the Sandiganbayan to order the Manila office of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to coordinate with foreign governments for the arrest of 3 former officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office who have reportedly fled the country to evade prosecution for plunder.
Assistant Special Prosecutors Julietta Zinnia A Niduaza and Ma Hazelina Tujan-Militante, in a six-page reply filed Tuesday, November 13, moved for the cancellation of the passports of former PCSO general manager Rosario C. Uriarte and former PCSO Board directors Jose R. Taruc V and Ma. Fatima A.S. Valdez.
They also asked the court to put the 3 defendants in the Interpol’s “red notice status."
“Red Notice Status is a request for any country to identify or locate an individual with a view to their provisional arrest and extradition in accordance with the country’s national laws,” the prosecutors explained.
The 3 were named co-accused of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a plunder charge for alleged mishandling of P366-M confidential intelligence funds of PCSO from January 2007 to June 2010.
Other than Arroyo, Uriarte, Taruc and Valdez, also indicted were former PCSO Board of Directors chairman Sergio O Valencia; former PCSO directors Manuel L. Morato and Raymundo T Roquero; former PCSO budget officer Benigno B Aguas; former Commission on Audit chairman Reynaldo A Villar and former COA-Intelligence Fund Unit head Nilda B Plaras.
The court issued the arrest warrants against all the defendants last October 4.
So far only Arroyo, Morato, Valencia and Aguas are under court custody. The rest of the accused remain at large. Plunder is a non-bailable offense.
Based on the travel records obtained by prosecutors from the Bureau of Immigration’s computer database, Valdes left via Singapore Airlines flight SQ917 on June 12, 2011.
She was followed by Uriarte who flew Cebu Pacific flight 5J807 on July 8, 2012, just 8 days ahead of the filing of the plunder case.
Taruc left via Cathay Pacific Airlines flight CX900 on July 19, 2012.
The following day, the Sandiganbayan issued hold departure orders against all of the accused. - Rappler.com