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Ex-Philippines president, 21 others charged with plunder

By Ians
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gl

Manila, Oct 3: Former Philippines president and now congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and 21 other former and current government officials were among those charged on Thursday with plunder for alleged misuse of 900 million pesos ($20.74 million) in 2009.

The Philippines' Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, whose office has the jurisdiction over the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) which conducted the investigation, led the filing of complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman, Xinhua reported.

Apart from Arroyo, also charged with plunder were her former cabinet officials such as then executive secretary Eduardo Ermita, then budget secretary Rolando Andaya, and then agrarian reform secretary Nasser Pangandaman.

Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brain in the supposed 10 billion pesos ($230.41 million) pork barrel scam, and officials of the bogus non-government organisations, which she allegedly formed, were also included in the complaint.

Some of those who were included in the complaint also face violation of anti-graft and corrupt practices act.

Apart from Arroyo, also charged with plunder were her former cabinet officials.

According to De Lima, even before an executive order was issued by Arroyo Oct 13, 2009, there was already a request for authorisation to access the Malampaya fund, the royalties that the national government received from the Malampaya gas field project off the country's Palawan province.

The 900 million pesos, which was given to fake NGOs, were supposed to benefit victims of tropical storm Ketsana and typhoon Parma in the latter part of 2009.

De Lima said that Lim-Napoles' NGOs falsified the signatures of the supposed local officials whose areas were hit by the two climatic disasters.

IANS

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