GMA, Uriarte may be
liable for malversation
By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
PASAY CITY – Former
President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former
Philippine Charity Sweepstake Office (PCSO) general manager Rosario Uriarte may find themselves liable for malversation for using the
agency’s intelligence funds for other purposes.
In today’s Senate
hearing on PCSO fund mess, Uriarte admitted to dipping her hands into
the intelligence funds of the charity agency to pay for “blood money”
of incarcerated overseas Filipino workers as well as cover expenses
for relief operations during calamities.
Escudero, who was
surprised at the way the PCSO’s intelligence funds were approved and
disbursed without regard to the proper procedure, said Uriarte’s
admission to misappropriating the agency’s intelligence funds could be
used as basis for filing malversation charges against her.
“Under oath at the
Senate, she readily admitted to using the intelligence fund to offset
other requests for funding like blood money and relief operations. And
under oath, she also said that former President Arroyo was
knowledgeable and approved all of these transactions. No matter how
noble the intentions were, these still do not justify the
misappropriation of the funds intended for what they claimed to be for
intelligence operations,” Escudero pointed out.
The senator said the
approval itself of an intelligence funds for a charity institution is
already suspect given the fact that the military intelligence funds
pale in comparison to the amount the PCSO received at that time.
Uriarte told the
Senate panel that she was able to get approval for the release of the
intelligence funds by personally handing the requests to the former
president, thus avoiding the lengthy bureaucratic process.
The former PCSO
executive said they have appropriated intelligence funds for the
agency for the roll out of the state-approved small town lottery (STL)
in a bid to stamp out illegal numbers game operations in the country.
questioning by senators, Uriarte failed to present a solid program and
list of expenditures to justify the appropriation of intelligence
admitted that part of the funds for intelligence operations was spent
for relief operations and “blood money” donations with the full
knowledge of the former president.
Escudero said that
under the law, any public officer who misuses or misappropriates
public funds is guilty of malversation and could face life
imprisonment under the Revised Penal Code.
Number 4 of Article
217 of the Revised Penal Code states that “the penalty of reclusion
temporal in its medium and maximum periods, if the amount involved
is more than 12,000 pesos but is less than 22,000 pesos. If the amount
exceeds the latter, the penalty shall be reclusion temporal in
its maximum period to reclusion perpetua.”