URIARTE: “We no longer live like normal citizens..”

This is the statement of former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) general manager Rosario Uriarte as she appeals to the senators of her right against self-incrimination.

According to reports, Uriarte was in tears when she told the Senate that she does not want to give further testimonials that may be used against her, and thus invoke her right to “remain silent”.

“I therefore appeal for understanding, honorable senators. My duty to my family who have suffered and continue to suffer from the cruel and humiliating perception of me, resulting from these hearings and the right to defend myself, impel me to invoke my constitutional right to remain silent,” Uriarte said in her prepared statement earlier today at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Hearing as quoted by philstar.com.

The former PCSO general manager added that she and her family have been suffering from sleepless nights, and were subjected to “public ridicule” since she made statements before the Blue Ribbon Committee about PCSO’s intelligence funds. She also noted that the issue has brought pain to her parents and children, especially with the senators’ earlier assertions that she may be guilty of plunder or malversation of public funds. She, herself has to take medicines for hypertension.

“We no longer live like normal citizens…,”, Uriarte told before the senators, adding that her father has fallen ill, who she claims to be vomiting“uncontrollably up to this day”.

“Maawa po kayo sa aking pamilya”, she appealed as quoted on interaksyon.com

She told the committee that she will no longer answer any more questions regarding the intelligence funds since it can be used against her by the“persecutors and prosecutors”.

Uriarte is charged with plunder filed by Bayan Muna Representatives Teodoro Casiño and Neri Colmenares based on her admittance of using an amount of PCSO’s intelligence fund, which she personally requested to former president Gloria Arroyo, for other purposes including the payment of blood money for Filipino overseas workers who are convicted in Middle East.

The case was filed last Tuesday at the Office of the Ombudsman with Uriarte and Ex-President and now Pampanga representative Arroyo facing plunder charges for the misuse of PCSO’s intelligence fund.

Senator Franklin Drilon, on the other hand, stated that Uriarte could not be totally excused from the hearing and she can only invoke her right against self-incrimination on certain questions thrown at her.

“Certainly Ms. Uriarte has the right to remain silent on the charges against her in the Ombudsman, but let me remind Ms. Uriarte that you cannot claim a blanket authority,” Drilon said as quoted in the same report. He added that it is the board’s responsibility to look into alleged anomalies in the public’s interest. It was in the exercise of the Senate’s oversight function.

Senate Blue Ribbon Committee head Senator Teofisto Guingona III agreed and pointed that Uriarte’s testimony is needed to amend the PCSO charter and reform the intelligence fund liquidation system of the sector.

Uriarte then raised her right to remain silent as the inquiries continued. She, however granted the senate’s appeal for investigation to open her bank account when they saw a P2 million discrepancy on her Statement of Assets and Liabilities (SALN).

She then explained that on the advice of the PCSO accountant, she did not include the non-taxable allowances and bonuses in her SALN.

“It is for the BIR to look into these discrepancies,” Drilon said on the same report of interaksyon.

via ANC

Twitter reactions vary. @dorkychou says “those invoking the so-called “right against self-incrimination” are GUILTY. PCSO’s Rosario Uriarte is obviously doing the runaround.” @geeregeorge gives advice “Mrs. Uriarte, GMA is not woth sacrificing for. Think of your children and their children to be, their name will be synonimous to corruption.”

@jv_arcena tweets that “Ex-PCSO GM Rosario Uriarte is the newest Senate best actress, replacing Linda Ligot.”

@aimmahwell is a bit more sympathetic. She says “Well i want to know d side story of mrs.rosario uriarte #pcso..so that i’ll know if i feel sad for her or hate her..” @paodeleon10 notes that “If you look at Ms. Uriarte, she looks like a proper woman. But if the allegations are true, MONEY can bring out the devil out of ANYONE”.

More reactions from twitter are curated here: