Arroyo asks SC to stop plunder trial vs her

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Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo asks the Supreme Court to issue a TRO in her favor and dismiss plunder charges vs her

This file photo taken on July 25, 2012, shows former Philippine president Gloria Arroyo waving to her supporters after being released from hospital arrest at a military hospital in Manila. AFP PHOTO / FILES / NOEL CELIS

MANILA, Philippines – Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday, October 24, asked the Supreme Court to stop the ongoing plunder trial against her before the Sandiganbayan.

She also asked the High Court, dominated by her appointees, to dismiss the plunder charges filed against her by the Ombudsman.

In an 80-page petition for certiorari and prohibition, Mrs Arroyo, through her counsels, asked the High Tribunal to reverse the Ombudsman’s resolution dated Oct 3, 2012 and the Sandiganbayan’s resolution on the same date which affirmed the existence of a probable cause to prosecute her.

A copy of the petition reached the Sandiganbayan Wednesday morning.

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Petition to the Supreme Court, 24 October 2012

Her lawyers led by Anacleto Diaz asked for two reliefs:

1.) That the Court issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to halt further Sandiganbayan proceedings against her;

2.) That the Court set aside both Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan resolutions and dismiss the plunder indictment against her.

The petition pointed out that the Sandiganbayan “acted in precipitate haste” when it declared the existence of probable cause to charge her with plunder.

It described the case as “defective,” since it lacked the so-called elements of plunder, such as evidence that Mrs Arroyo personally amassed P50-M or more as a result of her orders concerning the funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

Under the plunder law, a public official may be charged with plunder if he or she is accused of amassing ill-gotten wealth of P50-M or more.

Mrs Arroyo and at least 9 other former government officials are facing plunder charges before the Sandiganbayan over allegations they misused P366-M PCSO funds.

Mrs Arroyo is scheduled to be arraigned on October 29.

The graft court earlier granted her appeal to be under hospital arrest.

Plunder is a non-bailable offense. –

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