By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.
Former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez on Monday filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking the reversal of the ruling of the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) that dismissed the plunder charges against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and 11 others involving the alleged misuse of P530-million fund intended for the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
“Petitioner respectfully prays of this Honorable Court to review, reverse and revise the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman, approving the recommendations to dismiss the charges against herein respondents relative to the actual transfers of the amount of P530,382,445.00 OWWA Medicare fund to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PHIC) and the amount of US$ 350,000 from the OWWA Capital Fund to several Labor attaches in the Middle East…in lieu thereof, judgment be rendered finding probable cause to formally charge respondents and recommending their prosecution,” Chavez said in his petition for review.
Aside from Mrs. Arroyo, the Ombudsman also ordered the dismissal of the case against former president and chief executive officer of the PHIC Francisco Duque III; former Executive Secretary Alberto Romulo; former Chairman of the OWWA Board of Trustees Patricia Sto. Tomas, and former OWWA Board of Trustees Members Virgilio Angelo, Manuel Imson, Rosalinda Baldoz, Mina Figueroa, Caroline Rogge, Victorino Balais, Gregorio Oca and Virginia Pasalo.
Aside from the plunder and violation of the Anti-Graft Law, the Ombudsman also dismissed the complaint for malversation of public funds, qualified theft and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees against the respondents for lack of evidence.