Arroyo’s PCSO cohorts acquitted of graft over junket gifted by Australian contractor

The coaccused of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the failed plunder case involving the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence funds have also been acquitted in a separate case involving a junket gifted by the Australian contractor of a now-scuttled paper supply deal.

The court’s 6th Division, during the promulgation of its verdict in a February 20 hearing, declared former PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte and former directors Jose Taruc and Fatima Valdes not guilty of graft and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials.

The full text of the decision was not available as of press time.

Prosecutors claimed the three PCSO officials “received a gift in the form of an all-expense paid trip to Australia” from TMA Group of Companies.

The gift was allegedly “in consideration of their intervention as officers of PCSO in the approval of a Joint Venture Agreement” between PCSO and TMA for the establishment of a thermal coating and printing plant in the Philippines.

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