MANILA: Embattled former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and one of her two lawmaker-sons on Tuesday were named in a new plunder complaint, which is non-bailable and carries the maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The case against Arroyo and son Congressman Diodado Arroyo of Camarines Sur in the Bicol Region arose from two botched infrastructure projects in the province, a dam and a bridge, which cost the government more than $12 million.
The complaint was filed before Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, the country’s chief graft-buster, by two lawyers who alleged that Arroyo used the $12 million to boost the successful reelection bid of Diosdado in the May 2010 polls.
“By their brazen and wanton act, the respondents (Arroyos) treated public funds as if these were private bank accounts to be dispensed with by their royal caprice and frivolity as they see fit,” the complaint read.
The case was the latest of at least four plunder charges filed against Arroyo, also a congresswoman running for reelection in the coming May 13 midterm polls in her home province of Pampanga in Central Luzon.
The embattled and ailing former president is now under hospital arrest for plunder on orders of a special court called the Sandiganbayan for her alleged involvement in the illegal disbursement of $8 million in intelligence funds of the state-run Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office that operates the lucrative lotto patronized by millions of Filipinos.
In the latest plunder case, the two lawyers pointed out that the National Irrigation Administration ordered the suspension particularly of the dam project due to its “social unacceptability.”
Separately, the country has passed the strict security audit conducted by the world’s aviation regulatory agency last February, according to a Malacanang Palace official.
Abigail Valte, the deputy spokesman of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, expressed optimism the country could now work for the return of its carriers to Europe and the resumption of their proposed expansion in the United States.
Valte reported the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a UN agency, officially informed the government of the lifting of the significant safety concerns it imposed on the Philippines five years ago.
The lifting, Valte said, was contained in a letter sent by ICAO to the Civil Aviation Authority, which was established as part of the government’s determined efforts to undertake major reforms and international security standards.