Allies sad over arrest of Arroyo; Panlilio aide to fight ex-president in House pollsBy Tonette Orejas
Inquirer Central Luzon
GUAGUA, Pampanga — Allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have expressed sadness over the arrest warrant issued by the Sandiganbayan against her in relation to a plunder case for alleged misuse of P365 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office intelligence funds.
This developed as the Liberal Party fielded former provincial administrator Vivian Dabu, a close ally of former governor Eddie Panlilio, as a candidate for Pampanga’s second congressional district against Arroyo.
Mayors allied with Arroyo rued the issuance of the arrest warrant. “She is close to us, she is our congresswoman and she has helped us improve the lot of our constituents in the second district,” Guagua Mayor Ricardo Rivera told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by telephone.
He spoke on behalf of five other mayors in the second district towns of Lubao, Sasmuan, Sta. Rita, Porac and Floridablanca, which Arroyo represents in the House of Representatives.
Gov. Lilia Pineda, Arroyo’s friend and close ally, or the governor’s political party, Kambilan, did not issue statements in reaction to Arroyo’s arrest.
Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo, president of the Pampanga Mayors’ League and one of the staunchest allies of Arroyo, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Arroyo, through her son, Ang Galing Pinoy Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo, filed her certificate of candidacy for her reelection bid.
The Liberal Party, however, fielded former provincial administrator Vivian Dabu to challenge Arroyo.
Dabu, 44, a lawyer and accountant, filed her COC at the provincial Commission on Elections office at 10 a.m.
She served during the term of Fr. Eddie Panlilio from 2007 to 2010. As provincial administrator, she has filed cases of malversation, theft of minerals and abuse of authority against several officials.
Dabu, a native of Lubao, comes from a clan of farmers and professionals, including her mother, a teacher, who is a distant cousin of former Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr., President Aquino’s father.
Dabu, however, was a subject of administrative cases filed by two capitol employees during her stint as provincial administrator. The Civil Service Commission dismissed these cases.
Asked by reporters why she was challenging Arroyo, Dabu said: “Because nobody would like to fight GMA (Arroyo’s initials).”
“GMA has very much neglected farmers and quarry employees. She has brought her [Priority Development Assistance Fund] to other districts or brought us little,” she said.
Emmanuel Ignacio, Comelec assistant director in Central Luzon, said the issuance of the arrest warrant against Arroyo would not impact on her candidacy.
“It is only a pending case. Only when [she is] convicted by final judgment and it has become final and executory will we bar her [from] running,” he said.