THE Supreme Court on Tuesday sustained its earlier decision dismissing the plunder case filed against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in connection with the misuse of P366 million from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office fund.
During its en banc session in Baguio City, the Court resolved to deny the motion for reconsideration filed by the Office of the Ombudsman for lack of merit.
Court spokesman Theodore Te said 11 magistrates voted to junk the appeal of the anti-graft body, while four other justices voted to grant the motion for reconsideration seeking a reversal of its earlier ruling.
In its July 2016 decision, the Supreme Court granted Arroyo’s petition for demurrer of evidence, which sought the dismissal of her case for lack of sufficient evidence.
The decision written by Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin effectively acquitted the former President of plunder.
The Court also granted the same relief to her co-accused, former PCSO assistant general manager Benigno Aguas, and ordered his release from the Philippine National Police Custodial Center.
“The Court noted that its decision had granted petitioners’ respective demurrers to the evidence which resulted in their acquittal and thus any attempt to reconsider the decision would amount to double jeopardy,” Te said.
In the case of Aguas, 10 magistrates voted against the granting of Ombudsman’s motion, while five voted to grant the appeal.
Before granting Arroyo’s petition, the Court initially stopped the Sandiganbayan from further conducting proceedings in connection with Arroyo’s plunder case pending resolution of her petition before the Supreme Court.
It also directed the anti-graft court to forward to the Supreme Court all the records pertaining to the case, which involves the alleged misuse of P366 million from the PCSO fund from 2008 to 2010.
Arroyo was arrested in 2012 in connection with the plunder case.
In seeking demurrer to evidence, Arroyo noted that the prosecution failed to offer a single piece of evidence to prove that she amassed even a single peso of the alleged ill-gotten wealth amounting to P366 million or any part of that amount.
She insisted that the filing of the plunder case against her was part of the political persecution by the Aquino administration.