Special prosecutors stop presenting witnesses vs Arroyo in PCSO case

Posted on May 15, 2014

SPECIAL PROSECUTORS told the Sandiganbayan in a court hearing yesterday that they had no more witnesses to present against former president and current Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd district) and her co-accused in the alleged misuse of P366-million funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

Despite their earlier pronouncement before the anti-graft court that they shall present six to 10 witnesses to testify against Mrs. Arroyo, Atty. Hazel Militante made a formal manifestation yesterday stating that the special prosecutors had no more witnesses to present.

Atty. Laurence Arroyo, counsel of Mrs. Arroyo, was surprised by the announcement of the prosecution but welcomed its decision.

“All of a sudden, they have no more witnesses to present, which is just as well. Our client has so far been in detention for one year and seven months and the Constitution still presumes her to be innocent, that is why we welcome the prosecution’s decision to abruptly rest their case,” Mr. Arroyo said after the court hearing.

The prosecution presented earlier 14 witnesses before the court, but not one of the witnesses directly linked Mrs. Arroyo to the PCSO fund scam.

Commission on Audit (CoA) Intelligence and Confidential Fund Audit Unit Chief Flerida A. Jimenez, one of the prosecution’s witnesses, said that Mrs. Arroyo was not the recipient of the fund and “she is not the accountable officer for it.”

The camp of Mrs. Arroyo said that they shall file a demurrer to evidence after the court has resolved the offer and formal manifestation of the prosecution.

A demurrer to evidence may be filed by an accused in the event the prosecution rests its case based on the ground that the evidence presented is not sufficient to warrant a conviction. -- J.P. Miranda