Suarez says Aquino using big media firms to ‘demonize’ Arroyo

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Former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. FILE PHOTO

LUCENA CITY, Philippines—A close ally of Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday said major media networks have been serving as Malacañang’s “wrecking crew” against the former President.

“Major newspapers and major networks are the wrecking crew of the incumbent administration especially as the 2013 election is approaching,” House Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Suarez, however, did not name the media outfits he claimed have been playing a part in demonizing Arroyo.

Their objective, he said, is to depict Arroyo as “a really bad person.”

Suarez said Arroyo was not being given the chance to defend herself. “That’s the unfairness there,” he said.

Arroyo and Suarez are members of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats. Arroyo is currently detained at the Veteran’s Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City for a P366-million plunder case involving Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds.

During the campaign sortie of Team PNoy’s senatorial candidates in Catanauan, Quezon on Monday, President Aquino again harped on the alleged anomalies under the Arroyo administration.

Mr. Aquino described the life of the Filipino in the nine years under Arroyo as one of “desperation and hopelessness.”

Suarez, who often visits Arroyo at VMMC, said the former president is now in a “state of fear.”

“What lingers in her mind right now–and I can’t blame her–is fear,” Suarez said.

According to Suarez, Arroyo no longer wants to speak on any issue, fearful that the Aquino administration would again slap her with new criminal charges.

“Remember, she is still sick of not an ordinary illness, plus the result of being confined for a long time,” Suarez said.

Arroyo has undergone surgery on her spine for cervical spondylosis, a deterioration of the bones of the neck that causes a misalignment in the spine. An implant was placed on part of her neck to realign her spine but she continues to suffer neck and back pains, and has had difficulty swallowing food, according to doctors.

The courts have been throwing out cases against Arroyo one after another. On Jan. 17 the Supreme Court’s Third Division upheld the Office of the Ombudsman’s dismissal of a criminal complaint against Arroyo over the alleged misuse of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration funds during her term.

Last month, the Ombudsman also upheld the legality of the transfer of P530,382,445 from the OWWA Medicare Fund to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.

The Ombudsman also did not find anything irregular in the transfer of $350,000 from the OWWA Capital Fund to labor attaches in the Middle East during the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the US-led coalition in 2003.

Arroyo once more scored a legal victory when the Manila Prosecutors Office ruled that she was not criminally liable for the November 2009 Maguindanao massacre that left 58 people, including 32 media workers, dead.

Suarez observed that Aquino’s damnation of his predecessor is now doing good for his sick ally.

“Slowly, the emotional attitude (of the people) to former President Arroyo is now transforming into a pity. That she’s not really [as] bad as [she is] being portrayed by her persistent critics,” he said.

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