Court bars Arroyo, ex-PCSO chair from leaving

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The Sandiganbayan issues a hold departure order against former President Arroyo and ex-PCSO chair Sergio Valencia

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan has issued a hold departure order (HDO) against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in connection with a plunder case filed against her and 9 other ex-officials before the Sandiganbayan.

Reports from the Court said the HDO also covers Sergio Valencia, former chairman of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) who was also charged with plunder. It was issued by the Sandiganbayan’s first division headed by Justice Efren dela Cruz.

On July 16, the Ombudsman filed a plunder case against Mrs Arroyo, Valencia and 8 others following their alleged misuse of charity funds. Plunder is a non-bailable offense.

Justice Cruz has said he will treat the case as an “ordinary case,” ruling out a marathon trial.

Mrs Arroyo is also facing another case before a Pasay court, this time in connection with her alleged involvement in election sabotage in the 2007 elections. She is presently under house arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center. –

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