Ombud clears Arroyo in P728M fertilizer fund scam

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

MANILA (Updated) -- The Office of the Ombudsman has cleared former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of involvement in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who signed the resolution dated May 2, said there was no factual or legal basis that Arroyo was involved in the multi-million peso scam.

Morales added that there is no evidence to establish that the former President has a hand in the disbursement of fund.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Malacanang acknowledges the recent resolution. "We respect the findings of the Office of the Ombudsman, an independent constitutional body, which has the authority to decide on such cases filed before it," he said in a text message.

The complaint was first filed in 2011 by a group led by the late Solicitor General Frank Chavez but it was later recommended for dismissal. A reinvestigation of the case was later conducted after another plunder complaint was filed in the anti-corruption agency.

The controversy erupted after the 2004 Presidential Election where then senator and now Rehabilitation Czar Panfilo Lacson revealed in his Senate expose that Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn "Joc-Joc" Bolante allegedly diverted fertilizer funds to Arroyo's campaign kitty.

The fund was intended for the purchase of liquid fertilizers, which would have been distributed to the local officials.

Arroyo's legal counsel, Raul Lambino, was delighted with the recent ruling in favor of the former chief executive, adding that it has no connection with his client.

Lambino added they are hoping that the other cases of Arroyo and her family members will be dismissed.

Last April 28, the Ombudsman also dismissed another case against the Pampanga lawmaker together with her son, Camarines Sur Representative Diosdado "Dato" Arroyo, in connection with the alleged irregularities surrounding the Libmanan-Cabusao Dam and Skybridge 1 and 2 projects in the latter's province.

Morales approved the April 22 recommendation of the Field Investigation Office to close and terminate the case as the evidence gathered does not warrant the initiation of criminal proceedings against the former president and her son. (With SDR/Sunnex)

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