Still a turbulent year for Gloria. Various graft and corruption cases continue to hound ex-President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. A Pasay City court allowed Arroyo to post P1-million bail in connection with her electoral sabotage case on July 25 or after seven months of hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC). Diagnosed with hypoparathyroidism, Arroyo went in and out of VMMC for therapy while her counsels tried legal means that could allow her to seek medication abroad after gaining temporary freedom. After almost three months of staying in her Quezon City home, Arroyo went back to be confined at the Quezon City hospital following Sandiganbayan's order to arrest her on October 5. Arroyo, who also faces plunder charges for allegedly misusing P365-million state lottery’s intelligence funds, was rushed to intensive care unit over ischemia a week after. She also refused to enter a plea during the arraignment on the same case on October 29. (Photo by NPPA Images)

MANILA, Philippines --- Former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who faces a string of charges from the Aquino government, has been cleared of a criminal complaint arising from the infamous Maguindanao massacre case.

The Manila Prosecutor's Office cleared Arroyo of criminal negligence for lack of evidence.
In a one-page resolution, Assistant Prosecutor Wilbur Arimboyugan said the complaint filed by Marconi Abdulazis Paiso, who ran for vice governor in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), had failed to present any evidence showing that Arroyo was negligent in preventing the massacre of 58 persons, many of them newsmen, by armed men allegedly led by the Ampatuans.
The resolution approved by Prosecutor Raymunda Cruz-Apolo said Arroyo cannot be faulted despite her being the president and commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) when the crime happened.
Paiso had accused Arroyo of ''inaction, ignorance and perhaps tolerance'' which he said ''fueled the tense political situation'' leading to the massacre.
Investigating prosecutors said there is nothing to prove that the former president was negligent in her duties as President and Commander in Chief of the AFP which could have prevented the mass murder.
''(T)here is no evidence presented to show criminal negligence on the part of the respondent. The allegations made are more of generalizations and conclusions without supporting proof to show personal culpability of the respondent,'' the resolution said.
It added, ''(f)uther, reckless imprudence consists in voluntarily, but without malice, doing or failing to do an act from which material damage results by reason of inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing or failing to perform such act taking into consideration his employment or occupation, degree of intelligence, physical condition and other circumstances regarding persons, time and place. In this case, the negligent acts attributed to the respondent have no direct causal connection nor even proximate cause of the Maguindanao massacre.''
Meanwhile, a signature campaign calling for an end to the alleged ''persecution'' of Arroyo has gathered over 100,000 supporters a week after it was launched by local officials in the province.
Mayor Ricardo Rivera and Councilor Eugene Ponio, both of Guagua, have disclosed that the signature drive will be launched in other parts of the country. Simultaneous campaigns have been started in the first and second districts of Pampanga.
The two local officials are among the intervenors to a Supreme Court petition filed by Arroyo in connection with the filing of a non-bailable plunder charge against her.
Arroyo has asked the High Court to nullify a Sandiganbayan ruling that found probable cause in the filing of the plunder case which stemmed from the alleged misspending of some P366 million in intelligence and confidential funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
''We have waited long for the Supreme Court to act on the petition. We hope the show of support being shown by the people against President Arroyo's continued detention and persecution will prod the High Court to issue a ruling,'' said Rivera.According to Rivera the strong public support for the signature campaign indicates the protest of the people towards the political persecution being suffered by Arroyo in the hands of the Aquino government.
The signatories are convinced that Arroyo is being detained on trumped up charges that have no evidentiary support.
The signature campaign was launched a few days after the principal witness in the plunder case admitted that she has no evidence to show that the former President and her co-accused had acquired ill-gotten wealth from PCSO funds.
During the continuation of her cross-examination in the bail hearings, main witness Aleta Tolentino, a member of the PCSO Board of Directors, said they have not determined if Arroyo and her co-accused -- former PCSO Directors Manuel Morato, Raymundo Roquero, Jose Taruc V, and Fatima Valdes; former PCSO Budget Officer Benito Aguas; former Commission on Audit Chairman Reynaldo Villar; and COA Region V head Nilda Plaras -- actually received money from the confidential/intelligence funds (CIF) of the PCSO.

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