MANILA, Philippines–It’s the start of a new year, but some animosities die hard.
Former President turned Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday took a swipe at the Aquino administration in her New Year’s message, saying that its anticorruption drive was not backed by deeds and was belied by the abuse of power in going after political enemies.
Arroyo also noted that the administration’s much touted public-partnership (PPP) program had failed to take off, and that there were still only few foreign direct investments coming in that would bring about the kind of economic progress that everyone could feel.
“These are the challenges that face our leadership, even as the rest of us hope that we may still reap the rewards of the momentum for advancement that had brought us so far ahead over the last decade,” she said.
Arroyo was president from 2001 to 2010.
Currently under house arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center on plunder charges, Arroyo posted her message on her official Twitter account through her staff. The former President is barred from using electronic communication devices but was recently allowed to have a television set.
Blamed for PH problems
Her administration is usually criticized and blamed for the country’s present ills by President Aquino in his speeches.
“We are concerned the slogan of anticorruption still remains to be validated by measurable progress and continues to be mocked by the abuse of political power to favor those on the inside while persecuting those on the other side,” said Arroyo in the message.
The administration has been accused of going after politicians who do not belong to the Liberal Party (LP) which is chaired by President Aquino. Aside from Arroyo, the more recent targets, opposition politicians charge, were Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).
Garcia continues to defy a government-issued six-month suspension order in an administrative case, while Espino is being investigated for alleged links to the illegal numbers game “jueteng.”
The LP has denied allegations it was going after its rivals ahead of the May elections.
Arroyo, who was Mr. Aquino’s economics professor at the Ateneo de Manila University, said the administration had yet to build on the economic gains she achieved during her term.
She said the PPP program, which the administration has long been trumpeting, “remains to be realized by the actual start, let alone completion, of new projects that will improve upon the substantial infrastructure we have already built.”
“The fiscal stability and macroeconomic resilience that was first achieved under my watch still remains to be translated into more foreign direct investments that will ultimately deliver the inclusive growth that the business sector and the impoverished three million unemployed Filipinos are still waiting for,” she said.
Arroyo said that in order for the people to benefit from an economic improvement, contracts must be respected and there must be a practical understanding of how free markets operate.
Also needed is a “willingness to adhere to genuine economic data and not just propaganda,” she said.
The former President, who is also facing graft and electoral sabotage charges for which she is out on bail, also wished for “true justice” for all Filipinos.
“Most of all, we pray that true justice be administered to all without bias and prejudice,” she said.