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Congress Wants Gloria Arroyo on House Arrest, Seriously?

hen President Benigno Aquino III, wasn’t looking (he was in Japan), Former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyothe House of Representatives quickly passed a resolution urging the Sandiganbayan court to allow house arrest for detained Pampanga Representative and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Since October of 2012, Arroyo, has been detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City, on plunder charges for the misuse of nearly $9 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds.

In her nearly 10 years in as president, Arroyo and her husband Miguel Arroyo have been accused of all manner of nefarious deeds. After she took-over the unfinished term of impeached President Joseph Estrada in 2001, Arroyo told the country she would not seek a second term as president. In 2004 however, she broke that promise and ran for president. According to her detractors, she and her husband “moved heaven and earth” to make sure she won that election—fairly or otherwise.

Arroyo’s voice was captured on a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) wiretap ordering elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano to make sure she won by more than a million votes against her rival Fernando Poe Jr. Caught red-handed Arroyo publicly apologized for her “momentary lapse of judgment.” When polling results were tabulated Arroyo got nearly a 100-percent of the vote in parts of Mindanao controlled by the powerful Ampatuan clan.

According to eyewitnesses, in order to reign-in a sometimes uncooperative congress, Arroyo had hirelings regularly hand out paper bags filled with cash, to legislators to get them to do her bidding.

Under Arroyo, you had the fertilizer fund scam, the NAIA Terminal 3 overprice scandal, the Jose Pidal money laundering scandal, the Northrail bidding scandal involving China, the controversial Joseph Estrada pardon, the highly secret Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking also involving China, the helicopter scandal of Mike Arroyo, and the widely publicized NBN-ZTE deal—again with China involved. And these are just a handful of the scandals that plagued Arroyo’s 9-plus years in office.

Her detractors claim she was a terribly corrupt president and the damage she did to the country during her term as president will take many decades to repair. Though diminutive in stature, Arroyo was a giant when it came to corruption, her critics say.

Given all of the above, one has difficulty understanding why some congressmen would want even more leniency accorded to her. Arroyo’s current hospital confinement is already overly generous, given the severity of the crimes she is accused of committing.  

The late Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew—more as a critique than a complement—described Filipino culture as a “soft, forgiving culture”. He continued “Only in the Philippines could a leader like Ferdinand Marcos, who pillaged his country for over 20 years, still be considered for a national burial. Insignificant amounts of the loot have been recovered, yet his wife and children were allowed to return and engage in politics.” Filipinos today need to guard against such “softness” and make it known to Arroyo and her cronies in congress that her present hospital arrest is the best the former president is ever going to get! Published 6/12/2015

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