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July 21, 2017

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Philippines files plunder case against former leader

MANILA -- The Philippines' ombudsman on Monday filed plunder charges against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and nine ex-government officials for allegedly conspiring to loot nearly US$9 million in state funds.

It was the first plunder case filed against Arroyo in the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court.

The 65-year-old former president is being detained at a military hospital on electoral fraud charges. She is also facing graft charges for allegedly receiving bribes and illegal commissions from an anomalous government contract with a Chinese firm.

Seven former officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and two former officials of the Commission on Audit were also included in the plunder case.

The complaint alleged that the accused conspired "to willfully, unlawfully and criminally amass ... ill-gotten wealth in the aggregate amount or total value of 365.99 million pesos (US$8.82 million)" during 2008-10.

It accused Arroyo and the former officials of "taking advantage of their respective official positions, authority, relationships, connections or influence in several instances to unjustly enrich themselves."

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