her? She was president for almost a decade. A year after leaving office
in 2010 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was arrested and placed under
arrest” where she remains to this date. Charged first with electoral
sabotage, then the misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes funds,
Arroyo is currently confined at the Veterans’ Memorial Medical Center
awaiting her day in court.
Curiously, no one hears from Arroyo these days. Why, some wonder? Could
it be because the former diminutive president has had enough time in
detention to reflect on all the damage she and her husband did to the
country? Or is she just holding back with plans to bare it all in court.
Only second to the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Arroyo lived in Malacañang
longer than other Philippine presidents. She was in a unique position to
bring about significant changes that could have had long-lasting
positive effects on the country. Instead some say she allowed her
husband, the first gentleman to create his own “mini fiefdom” in the
country and skim illegal commissions off of large government contracts.
Still others would say she did not need her husband to do nefarious
deeds, she was corrupt and greedy all on her own.
The bottom line is this. If you are a former Philippine president and
you are being accused of illegal deeds you have not done, you would move
heaven and earth to let one and all know about your plight. And
Filipinos in turn would be organizing and demonstrating for your
In Gloria Arroyo’s case, Filipinos are not clamoring for her release,
nor is she actively making her case to the people. Is her silence
because Arroyo knows that if people start digging deeper, they will only
find more and more damaging evidence against her?
Arroyo and her husband seemed to have a preference for deals involving
Communist China. The NBN-ZTE deal which blew up in their faces in 2007
and the earlier, clandestine Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking both
placed the country at a great disadvantage vis-à-vis China, and both
could have provided billions of pesos for the Arroyos and their equally
Clooney, American actor George Clooney’s barrister wife, said she would
defend Gloria Arroyo and in February of this year actually filed a case
with a division of the UN Commission on Human Rights. But since then, we
have not heard much from the celebrity lawyer. Even Amnesty
International, an organization that should be outraged by Arroyo’s long
detention has not bothered to give Arroyo even the fleeting concern that
Clooney has shown.
At the end of the day, It seems Arroyo will have more time in her
hospital suite to reflect on her legacy as well as what she did to the
Macapagal name that her father Diosdado Macapagal, also a former
president, worked a lifetime to safeguard.