Appealing GMAs case to SC is waste of time – former Sandiganbayan justice

MANILA, Philippines — Former Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Edilberto Sandoval on Thursday said the plan of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to appeal the victorious ruling of the Supreme Court for former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is a waste of time.

At the weekly news forum, Usaping Balita at Serye Restaurant in Quezon City, Sandoval said Morales who learn to accept the SC ruling being a former member of the chamber.

Morales, in a press conference Wednesday, said that they were still making another case build up allegedly to bring the former chief executive back to jail.

Sandoval said Morales should learn to respect the Supreme Court ruling and just focus on how to make Mrs. Arroyo accountable for her other alleged crimes.

“Just accept the decision. The Supreme Court has spoken. Regardless of our convictions and what we feel about the case, we should bow to the SC,” he told reporters at the forum.

He added the decision must have hurt Morales’ ego considering that she and her prosecutors had been confident all along that Mrs. Arroyo took part in the embezzlement of Php366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office from 2008 to 2010.

The high court rebuffed this claim on Tuesday, saying there was insufficient evidence to pin down the former President to the alleged anomaly.

A day after the SC handed down its decision, a combative Morales faced the media and said her office was studying the possibility of filing an appeal.

However, the odds of getting a reversal appeared to be slim with only four out of the 15-man SC backing Mrs. Arroyo’s trial at the Sandiganbayan, according to Sandoval.

“With 11 justices as against 4, it is second to impossible,” he emphasized after the forum.

Mrs. Arroyo’s legal woes are not yet over though. She is still facing graft cases over the scuttled NBN-ZTE deal and investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman regarding the Php57 million worth of intelligence funds Mrs. Arroyo approved for the use of PCSO from 2004 to 2007.

Morales said the plunder and malversation complaints on the PCSO issue were under preliminary investigation stage.

The Ombudsman allayed concerns of double jeopardy, noting the probe covered an earlier period involving the intelligence funds. Sammy Martin/PNA/