MANILA, Aug 20 (Mabuhay) – Former president and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday was finally allowed to file a demurrer to evidence, which is equivalent to asking the court for an acquittal.
“Sa aming opinion, maaaring makita ng court na di sapat ang ebidensya ng prosecution. Yan ang opinion namin kaya nag file kami ng demurrer. Salamat na pinayagan kami,” Mrs. Arroyo’s legal counsel, Atyy. Jose Flaminiano, said in an interview following the hearing.
A demurrer to evidence formally asks the court to decide if the presented evidence of the prosecution is enough to hold a case.
Mrs. Arroyo is facing plunder charges over the alleged misuse of P366-M in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office intelligence funds during her incumbency. At present, she is under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.
In the same interview, Flaminiano said the court’s decision to allow them to file a demurrer to evidence will speed up the resolution of the case.
“Mapapabilis, pero depende pa rin sa justices. Ang demurrer kasi is equivalent sa motion for acquittal. Pag na grant yung demurrer, wala nang kaso,” he said.
The Sandiganbayan First Division gave the defense team 10 days to submit the demurrer to evidence. The prosecution panel was likewise given 10 days to respond, after which the motion is considered submitted for resolution.
Flaminiano said their legal team is of the opinion that the evidence against Mrs. Arroyo in the PCSO plunder case is weak. Plunder is a non-bailable offense if evidence against the accused is strong.
However, Flaminiano reiterated that in the end, the justices will be the ones to decide on the motion.
“Di naman natin hawak ang isip ng justices, ginagawa lang namin ang tingin namin nakaka buti sa kliyente namin,” he said, adding that the defense team cannot yet say for certain what the demurrer to evidence will contain.
“Di pa masasabi, pinagaaralan pa namin ang mga puntos na bibigyan diin, yung mga ka kulangan ng prosecution ,” he said.
“Sa ngayon ayaw pa namin i-discuss yung contents, ayaw namin pangunahan yung justices,” he added. (MNS)