Supreme Court (SC) Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe expressed fear that the Plunder Law might get weakened due to the acquittal of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. “Regrettably, the majority’s interpretation tends to enervate the potency of the Plunder Law’s force,” she stated in her dissenting opinion. The magistrate said that the majority ruling would result to requiring “the State to submit direct proof of personal benefit for an accused plunderer, as well as those who have conspired with him to be convicted”. Bernabe, who “strongly criticize(d) this approach”, expressed concerns that this might benefit those charged with plunder in connection with the “pork barrel” scam. She pointed out that those charged in the pork barrel scam have “already hidden money they stole through ingenious schemes and means.” The former legislators currently facing plunder charges before the Sandiganbayan are former senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, Ramon Revilla Jr.; and former congressmen Edgar Valdez and Rizalina Seachon-Lanete. In a favorable decision penned by Justice Lucas Bersamin, the majority of the SC magistrates indicated that although Arroyo approved the release of P366 million worth of intelligence funds from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), there was no proof as to where the money went or that the lady politiko actually benefited from it.
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