Arroyo free to run for Congress again, says Palace aideBy TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines – Former President Gloria Macagapal-Arroyo is free to seek a fresh term in the House of Representatives but whether her temporary freedom would boost her political stock remains to be seen, a Malacañang Palace aide said Saturday.
“Well, everybody is free to run in this country and that does not exclude the former President,” Abigail Valte, one of President Benigno Aquino III’s spokespersons, said over radio. She was reacting to Arroyo’s reported plan to seek a new term as Pampanga representative in May 2013.
Days after posting bail in her electoral sabotage case, Arroyo motored to Pampanga Friday and met with her constituents in the second congressional district, vowing “to do more”. Her spokesperson confirmed her plan to run anew.
Does Malacañang expect a resurgence in her political career?
Valte said: “Well, she’s still in politics. She’s still the representative of, is it the first district of Pampanga? And as far as we’re concerned, she’s still in politics. Whether there will be a resurgence in reference to her old political party, then that remains to be seen.”
And any move by the President’s Liberal Party to field a candidate against her would depend on this resurgence, she said.
“Well, again, that depends on whether the party will really have a resurgence. As of the moment, the Liberal Party is in the process of coming out with their slate. Whether she will be challenged in her own district again remains to be seen,” she said.
Arroyo, who gained temporary freedom last Wednesday, faces a separate case of plunder in the Sandiganbayan in connection with the alleged misuse of P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds.
“From what we understand, from our point of view, these are procedural matters that the Sandiganbayan ordered the Office of the Ombudsman to comply with,” she said, referring to the anti-graft First Division’s grant of Arroyo’s request to suspend hearings until the Ombudsman had decided on her appeal to dismiss the charges against her.
The Ombudsmand asked the Sandiganbayan to issue an arrest warrant against her over the plunder case, but the anti-graft court instead ordered the Ombudsman to give due course to Arroyo’s motion for reconsideration.