SC says ‘we decide cases based on merits’ in reaction to GMA’s statement on dismissed case

By Rey Panaligan

The Supreme Court (SC) decides cases based on merits and not from influence by authorities from the two co-equal branches of government.

House Speaker, Pampanga Representative and former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)
House Speaker, Pampanga Representative and former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a statement issued by Spokesman Atty. Brian Hosaka, the SC said:

“The public can be assured that the Supreme Court has and will always act independently, and free from influence from the other branches of government.”

“The Supreme Court is guided by the rule of law and its decisions are always based on facts, laws, and reason. The decisions of the Supreme Court are open to the public, and we encourage those concerned to read them so they can understand the reasons why they were decided that way.”

The SC statement was issued in reaction to the statement of former President and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who thanked and credited President Duterte for the dismissal of her plunder case before the SC in July 2016.

Mrs. Arroyo was quoted as saying during an appreciation dinner at the historic landmark Manila Hotel:

“Most of all, I thank you that when you became President, you provided the atmosphere in which the court had the freedom to acquit me of the trumped up charges of my successor and your predecessor.

“So that the court voted 11 to 4 in my favor, including half of those who were appointed by my successor.”

READ MORE: Arroyo thanks Duterte for her freedom

In its July 19, 2016 decision, the SC – voting 11-4 — ordered Arroyo’s release from hospital arrest as it dismissed, for insufficiency of evidence, the plunder case filed against her before the Sandiganbayan in connection with alleged misuse of P366 million in funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

Also ordered released with the dismissal of the plunder case was Benigno Aguas, former PCSO budget and accounts manager. The SC voted 10-5 in his case.

The SC said in its decision:

“Wherefore the Court grants the petitions for certiorari; annuls and sets aside the resolutions issued in Criminal Case No. SB-12-CRM-0174 by the Sandiganbayan on April 6, 2015 and September 10, 2015; grants the petitioners’ respective demurer to evidence; dismisses Criminal Case No. SB-12-CRM-0174 as to the petitioners Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno Aguas for insufficiency of evidence; orders the immediate release from detention of said petitioners….”