Arroyo, the incumbent congresswoman of Pampanga’s second district, is the only witness on the defense list, according to her pre-trial brief filed Wednesday.
In the seven-page brief, Arroyo’s lawyers said she’s the sole defense witness since the individuals who have personal knowledge of the fund transactions cannot be compelled to take the witness stand as they are her co-accused in the case, which concerned allegations of fraudulent handling of P366 million confidential intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Arroyo’s co-defendants were PCSO general manager Rosario C. Uriarte; former PCSO Board chairman Sergio O. Valencia; PCSO board directors Manuel L. Morato, Jose R. Taruc V, Raymundo T. Roquero and Ma. Fatima A. S. Valdes; PCSO budget and accounts manager Benigno B. Aguas; former Commission on Audit chairman Reynaldo A. Villar; and former COA-Intelligence Fund Unit head Nilda B. Plaras.
Arroyo, who is seeking re-election in next month’s midterm elections, said she has no personal knowledge about “the release, disbursement, use and liquidation” of the PCSO confidential intelligence funds.
For this reason, Arroyo said she would rather wait for her co-accused to finish their own presentations before starting her own defense.
“She thus prays that… she be allowed to present evidence last so that she may adopt the testimonies of her co-accused who may testify in their behalf or of such witness as they may present during trial,” her lawyers said.
However, defense lawyers Anacleto M. Diaz and Analene V. Balisong made reservations to call additional witnesses and present more documentary evidence if so warranted in the course of the trial.
Arroyo, Valencia, Morato, Aguas and Roquero are currently in detention after being served warrants of arrest since plunder is a non-bailable offense. They have all filed their respective petitions for bail, which has been submitted for resolution by the court.
Except for Plaras, who secured an injunction from the Supreme Court, the rest of the defendants remain at large. — KBK, GMA News