Could the Allegations made on former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo concerning Corruption be true?
About 4 years ago, some shocking news was unearthed regarding three former military chiefs-of-staff and former Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo implicating them on corruption that has seen the country almost to its knees. George Rabusa of Lt. Col. is said to have ripped open ‘Pandora’s Box’ that contained implicating information on the subject of corruption pointing to the above mentioned parties. Could Mr. Rabusa’s great ‘exposé’ be true or is it a dying horse’s neigh? Remember, it takes one to know one; some people believe that his big exposé was an act of redemption since he was part of it. But how could people turn a blind eye and remain silent to this endemic corruption that happened in plain sight for so long?
Gloria Macapagal served as the 14th President of the Philippines for ten years (2001-2010), as the 12th Vice President of the Philippines for 4 years (1998-2001) and is a current member of House of Representatives, representing Pampanga’s 2nd District. She was the 2nd female president of the Philippines after Corazón Aquino. She is also the daughter of former President Diosdado Macapagal.
Arroyo’s swearing in to presidency was no walk in the park. It was during the period of economic and political uncertainty for the Philippines. Before, Arroyo was serving in an acting capacity during the impeachment of President Estrada. The ESDA III that took place in the year 2001 was Arroyo’s first grave political challenge in her presidency.
In the year 2004, Arroyo ran for presidency for a second term and won the elections by a margin of more than one million votes against Fernando Poe Jr. However, the National Board of Canvassers contended that there were many inconsistencies in the election totals which raised the insinuations of rigging but still this did not stop Arroyo from being sworn in as the new president.
The allegations of cheating against Arroyo escalated the following year after the elections. The former deputy of NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), the Late Samuel Ong asserted to have in his possession audio recordings of a phone call wiretap conversations between President Arroyo and the Election Commissioner of that time, Virgilio Garcillano allegedly conversing about the 2004 national election results rigging which were made public. The recording later became known as the ‘Hello Garci controversy’. The minority of the lower house of Congress failed in an attempt to impeach Arroyo and no trials took place.
There were several allegations against Arroyo and her accessories in government which included electoral fraud and the ensuing cover-up which of course was termed false by the administration and even challenged to court. Garcilliano disappeared for a few months after the accusations were aired. When he returned back to the capital late 2005, he denied all the allegations and was cleared of perjury charges by the Department of Justice in December, the year 2006.
Arroyo also denied any wrongdoing and termed the election as free and fair. Despite the rising pressure from different sectors of the society asking her to resign, Arroyo still maintained office. In October the year 2007, a lawyer named Alan Paguia filed an impeachment charge against Arroyo in connection with bribery issues. Paguia based his accusation on the report of Pampanga Government Ed Panlilio that several governors’ received a sum of half a million Pesos from Malacañang.
The Philippines’ economy was the main focus of Arroyo’s presidency. Backed by a master’s degree and doctorate in economics, she was able to steer an average annual economic growth of 4.5 percent during her tenure hence expanding every quarter of her presidency. The value was higher than the three immediate administrations’ predecessors;Corazon Aquino 3.8 percent, Fidel Ramos 3.7 percent and Joseph Estrada 3.7 percent. It is no secret that within the three decades, the Philippine economy grew at its fastest pace with the real GDP growth surpassing 7 percent.
Amid the economic growth, poverty rate still remained adamant due to the high population growth rate and uneven income distribution.
It’s never too late for justice!
Arroyo was arrested in November 18, 2011 by an anti-graf following the filing of criminal complaint against her for electoral fraud. She was then confined at Veterans Memorial Hospital Center located in Quezon City under the complaint of electoral rigging. However, she was released on bail in July 2012 then later re-arrested on charges of misuse of 8.8 million USD in state Lottery funds in October 2012. The arrest took place while she was in hospital.
The funds she allegedly stole were meant for charity programs but she supposedly spent it on election campaigns. She was remanded under the Philippine National Police custody and detention. Senior Superintendent Napoleon Coronel reported that Arroyo was very cooperative with the arresting officers and in her time of arrest, she was she was confined to a bed with an IV drip attached to her.
Coronel remarked that whether she remaineddetained in a regular jail, hospital or any other government facility, the police will still await the court order.
“Arroyo was not only disappointed but distraught and very sad after learning that she was going to be arrested again,” says Anacleto Diaz, one of Arroyo’s lawyers. Diaz maintained that the case against Arroyo was very weak.
If guilty of the plunder charge, Arroyo could stand to face life in jail. Aside from Arroyo, nine other lottery and government officials were also charger for involvement.
Arroyo ended her reign in power in the year 2010 being one of the most unpopular presidents due to the election rigging allegations, forming allies with feared warlords and being involved in widespread corruption.
Benigno Aquino who won the elections in 2010 vowed to fight corruption and bring Arroyo to justice.
In November 2013, Arroyo was charged with vote fraud for reputedly plotting to rig the senatorial elections in 2007. The next 8 months she spent in detention in a military hospital. In July, Arroyo won bail with court claiming that the case against her was weak. In December 2013, she was again charged with corruption for sanctioning a reportedly graft-tainted contract with a Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE Corp to set-up a national broadband system to which she pleaded not guilty on both counts.
The case is still continuing in court and it may even take years for it to conclude.
If people continue to live by the notion, ‘sometimes doing the wrong thing is the only way to get ahead’ which most Philippines’ believe, then there is no way the country will ever move forward and corruption seize to exist. Sometimes those in power, whom the people elected, are the ones to set a good example for the whole country.