Panelo, Dureza praise SC verdict on Arroyo

MANILA, Philipppines (UPDATED) – The chief legal counsel of President Rodrigo Duterte said "it's about time" that the Supreme Court acquitted and ordered the release of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

"It's about time. All the respondents have been released, di ba?," Panelo told reporters on Tuesday, July 19, after the Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling acquitting Arroyo. (READ: Timeline: Gloria Arroyo – from plunder to acquittal)


Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza also said he "rejoiced" over the decision. "We see that justice has been served with the decision of the SC. Personally, I rejoiced over this decision," said Dureza, who had served under Arroyo.

Dureza said he congratulated Arroyo in a phone conversation on his way to Malacañang Palace. 

Panelo explained that since Arroyo was charged with conspiracy and practically all her co-accused had been released, it was only just a matter of time for her to be freed as well.

"Ang conspiracy kasi, the act of one is the act of all. The reverse is true. The innocence of one is the innocence of all," Panelo said.

After winning the elections in May, Duterte said he would grant Arroyo pardon. Tuesday's Supreme Court decision renders that plan moot.

Some of Duterte's key campaign supporters are former officials of the Arroyo administration. –