Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo Jr. (Neg. Occ., 5th District) yesterday slammed former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez for filing another plunder case against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the Department of Justice Tuesday for her alleged use of P1.6 billion worth of fertilizer funds to finance her 2004 presidential campaign.
“Where is the plunder?” he asked.
Arroyo called the plunder charges filed against his sister-in-law “plain gimmickry.”
Among others, a major criterion of plunder is if the funds were diverted to the pockets and personal use of the recipient, he said.
Chavez himself cannot claim that the money ended up in the pockets of the former president, the solon said.
The former solicitor general told reporters in Manila that he had filed the complaint so Gloria Arroyo can account for the fertilizer funds that “were clearly used for her political exercises in 2004.”
Attached to his 31-page complaint were some 200 pages of documents, including the special allotment release order signed by Arroyo directing then Budget Secretary Emilia Boncodin to release the funds.
Also included in the complaint as evidence were the reports of the Senate committee which investigated the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.
Rep. Arroyo noted that Chavez admitted in his complaint that the funds were released to specific members of the House of Representatives, provincial governors and municipal mayors.
“So how can the former president be liable for plunder when the recipients were enumerated and not a single centavo passed through her hands?” the solon asked.
He said that while Chavez claimed that the money was diverted to the presidential bid of the former chief executive in 2004, the former solicitor general “could not present even a single piece of evidence of how the fertilizer fund was used for the campaign – how or for what was it spent, by whom and where, how and on what campaign needs did the money go to.”
“I have said it again and again, the former president, or the Arroyos for that matter have nothing to hide,” the Negros solon said.
“Our only request is the next time somebody accuses us of anything, the evidence should be presented simultaneously instead of subjecting us to trial by publicity,” he added.*CPG