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Arroyo charged over ‘misuse’ of OWWA funds

Over P500-M was systematically ‘diverted’

MANILA, Apr 26 (Mabuhay) – Plunder and malversation complaints were filed Tuesday against former President and now Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and several allies for alleged misuse of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) funds.

In his complaint, former Solicitor General Frank Chavez accused Arroyo, Alberto Romulo, former health secretary Francisco Duque III and former OWWA Administrator Virgilio Angelo of “purposely and systematically orchestrated diversion and/or misuse of the OWWA fund, financing questionable acquisitions by several Philippine diplomatic posts in the Mid East, the humanitarian assistance to Iraq, and the reelection bid of CGMA.”

He accused Arroyo, et al of plunder, qualified theft, violations of the Omnibus Election Code and violations of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials.
The complaint said the amount of public funds in question totals P530,382,446, way beyond the P50 million requirement of the law for an act to constitute plunder.

Chavez was supported by Migrante International during the filing of the charges at the Department of Justice. The group promised to help by providing witnesses.
Whistleblowers Sandra Cam, Jose Barredo and Melchor Magdamo challenged President Benigno Aquino III to make good his promise to stamp out corruption by prosecuting Arroyo, et al.

Arroyo has been linked to a slew of controversies since taking over as president in January 2001 after President Joseph Estrada was removed from office.

Among the controversies linked to Arroyo during her 9-year presidency were:

distribution of P728 million in fertilizer funds to Arroyo allies during 2004 elections; approval of $329 million NBN-ZTE deal, which was later rescinded alleged rigging of the 2004 polls as revealed in the “Hello, Garci” wiretap tapes overpricing of the P1.1 billion Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard; alleged links to jueteng lords cash gifts to congressmen and governors as revealed by Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio P9.5 billion contract for rice importation awarded to a Malacañang ally. (MNS)

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