Palace, Aquino ally respond to Arroyo’s tirades

December 9, 2011

Jill Beltran and Jonathan de Santos
Sun Star
December 9, 2011

MALACANANG on Friday denied that President Benigno Aquino III has been engaging in demagoguery to destroy the image of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In an exclusive interview with GMA News aired Thursday, Arroyo, for the first time, expressed her sentiments regarding the situation that she is in under the Aquino administration.

Arroyo lambasted Aquino for “pre-judging” her in the face of several cases filed against her including the electoral sabotage charges in connection with the 2007 midterm-elections.

“I am already pre-judged by the new administration. They are even using demagoguery to vilify me completely,” Arroyo said in Filipino during her interview with GMA-7 news anchor Arnold Clavio a day before her transfer from St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City to Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said President Aquino has neither vilifying nor pre-judging Mrs. Arroyo.

“Wala pong paninirang nangyayari…She will have her day in court; she will have the opportunity to defend herself; she will have the opportunity to clear her name,” Valte said.

She said the intention of the administration is to uncover the truth in the allegations against the former President.

Valte also dismissed that the President is resorting to criticizing Arroyo to make himself look good. “That is her (Arroyo) opinion. That is not true when you ask us.”

In the same interview, Arroyo also took a swipe at Aquino for focusing on “black propaganda” and “slander” instead of the economy.

“It is not true that the President is not attending to our economy…in fact there are other avenues and day to day issues that our President is giving attention to,” Valte said.

Arroyo was not wearing a neck brace during her interview with Clavio.

The former President also admitted that that her condition has been improving since the series of surgeries she underwent.

Asked how long the government intends to keep Arroyo at the VMMC, Valte said it will depend on the Commission on Elections, which is the prosecution panel.

But she said the Palace position on the matter is for Arroyo to stay at hospital only when it is required for health reasons.

Arroyo, under hospital arrest since November 18, was transferred to VMMC presidential suite at 4 p.m. Friday. She was joined by her husband Mike Arroyo and son Dato.

Arroyo insisted that her “conscience is clean” and she still believes in the rule of law.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, meanwhile, said Arroyo can blame nobody but herself if her reputation is now in tatters.

“She destroyed her own reputation through the “Hello, Garci” scandal, the fertilizer fund scam, the ZTE-National Broadcasting Network deal, the Maguindanao Massacre and many more (scandals),” Pangilinan said.

He was referring to scandals that have been linked to Arroyo. Her participation in them has not been proven, however.

Pangilinan, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, said President Aquino is only fulfilling a campaign promise to prosecute officials involved in corruption. He said the government’s campaign targets corruption “whether by the former President or (by) whoever else is involved.”

He said that although Arroyo, as a former President, should be given courtesy, this should not extend to forgetting the allegations of corruption that hounded her administration.

“The Arroyo administration had a long history of corruption cases and scandals, and we cannot just turn a blind eye to all of this,” he said.

“What would we have this administration do? Simply let things go because she is a former President?” he added.



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