Ombudsman clears Arroyo of plunder

MANILA — Citing lack of merit, the Office of the Ombudsman cleared former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and five others of plunder over the sale and disposition of the Iloilo airport in 2007.

In her resolution, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales approved the resolution of the Office of the Prosecutor General dated Jan. 20, 2011 dismissing the complaint for plunder filed by Danilo Lihaylihay against Arroyo, and Albert G. Romulo, Eduardo R. Ermita, Margarito B. Teves, John Philip P. Sevilla, and Andrew L. Tan.

The resolution was also signed by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro, Preliminary Investigation Administrative Adjudication and Review Bureau Director IV Mary Antonette Yalao, and Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer 1 Francis Euston Acero.

The Ombudsman said Lihaylihay failed to allege or even present proof of the second element of plunder, which is the acquisition of ill-gotten wealth.

“A cursory look at the allegations made by complainant Lihaylihay shows that he did not allege, much less present any evidence, that either respondent Arroyo, Romulo, Ermita, Teves or Sevilla acquired ill-gotten wealth in the manner described under Section 1(d) of the Anti-Plunder Law,” the Ombudsman said.

The law stipulates three elements of plunder: the offender is a public officer, that offender amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth through a combination or series of overt or criminal acts, and the aggregate amount or total value of the ill-gotten wealth is at least P50 million.

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