MANILA — Ex-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had been praying and waiting for this to happen.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the Philippines (SCOTP) ordered the immediate release from detention of Pampanga 2nd district congresswoman and former President of the Philippines (POTP) Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Arroyo who has a debilitating bone disease is being detained at the Veterans Memorial Center (VMMC) in Quezon City.
SCOTP public inofrmation officer Atty Theodore O.Te read in a press confierence that “the Court grants the petitions for certiorari; annuls and sets aside the resolutions issued in Criminal Case No. SB-12-CRM-0174 by the Sandiganbayan on April 6, 2015 and September 10, 2015.
The high court’s decision also grants the petitioners demurrers to evidence and dismisses Criminal Case No. SB-12-CRM-0174 against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno Aguas for insufficiency of evidence.
The order also include the immediate release from detention of Arroyo and makes no pronouncements on costs of suit.
It must be recalled that the case involves the alleged misuse of the P366-million confidential intelligence fund of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) during Arroyo’s presidency.
Te said that the Court voted 11-4 in G.R. No. 220598 (Macapagal-Arroyo) and 10-5 in G.R. No. 220953 (Aguas).
Those who voted to dismiss the case against Mrs. Arroyo were Associate Justices Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr.,Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro, Arturo D. Brion, Diosdado M. Peralta, Lucas P. Bersamin, Mariano C. Del Castillo, Jose P. Perez, Jose C. Mendoza, Bienvenido L. Reyes, Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe and Francis H. Jardeleza.
Those who dissented were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. Aranal Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio and Associate Justices Marvic F. Leonen and Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa.
Chief Justice Sereno and Associate Justice Leonen submitted separate dissenting opinions. Associate Justice Brion submitted a separate concurring opinion while Associate Justice Bernabe submitted a separate concurring and dissenting opinion. (PNA / Perfecto T. Raymundo)