2 of Arroyo's co-accused in plunder case surrender

Posted at 10/05/2012 9:25 AM | Updated as of 10/05/2012 2:18 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Two of the co-accused in the plunder case filed against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo voluntarily surrendered to police, an official said on Friday.

Keith Singian, deputy chief for operations of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said they now have in their custody former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairman Sergio Valencia and former PCSO Budget and Accounts Manager Benigno Aguas.

Valencia’s wife, Tina Revilla-Valencia, told ABS-CBN News that her husband and Aguas surrendered to the CIDG past 5 p.m. Thursday after their lawyers confirmed that the warrants against them are active.

Her husband, she said, wants to fight it out in court because he has nothing to hide.

Singian said operations are ongoing to arrest the other co-accused in the plunder case, namely: former PCSO vice chairman and general manager Rosario Uriarte, members of the PCSO board of directors Manuel Morato, Jose Taruc V, Raymundo Roquero, and Ma. Fatima Valdes, former Commission on Audit chairman Reynaldo Villar, and former head of COA's intelligence/confidential fund audit unit Nilda Plaras.

Bureau of Immigration spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang earlier said Taruc left the country last July 19, merely days after the plunder charge was filed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Arroyo, meanwhile, is currently at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) where she was admitted after complaining of numbness in her hands.

Arroyo was admitted to the hospital before 7 a.m. Thursday. This was after the Sandiganbayan issued an arrest warrant for her and 9 others for the alleged misuse of P366 million in PCSO intelligence funds.

The Sandiganbayan denied the motion of Arroyo's camp to defer the arrest warrant.

Senior Superintendent Jigs Coronel, chief of the CIDG-National Capital Region (CIDG-NCR), personally delivered the arrest warrant to Mrs. Arroyo at the VMMC presidential suite.

Female police officers from the police crime laboratory accompanied Coronel in serving the warrant, as well as booking Mrs. Arroyo for the plunder case, according to Quezon City police chief Mario dela Vega. – with a report from Edwin Sevidal, dzMM