Solon says Aquino ‘demonizing’ Arroyo

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LUCENA CITY—A close ally of Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday said President Benigno Aquino is demonizing the former president through the media.

“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 on Tuesday.

He did not identify the media companies that he claimed have been helping demonize Arroyo.

The congressman said Mr. Aquino wants to depict Arroyo as “a really bad person.” He said Arroyo is 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 Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City for a P366-million plunder case involving Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds.

During the campaign in Quezon of Team PNoy on Monday, Mr. Aquino again mentioned alleged irregularities and anomalies under the Arroyo administration.

Mr. Aquino described the life of Filipinos under Arroyo as one of “desperation and hopelessness.”

Suarez, a frequent visitor of Arroyo, 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,” he said.

According to Suarez, the former president no longer wants to speak on any issue, fearful of retaliation in the form of 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 had undergone surgery in her spine for cervical spondylosis, a deterioration of the bones in the neck that causes a misalignment in the spine. An implant was placed in a part of her neck to realign her spine but she continues to feel pain 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 case against her over the alleged misuse of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) funds.

Last month, the Ombudsman also upheld the legality of the transfer of P530 million 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 attachés in the Middle East during the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the US-led coalition in 2003.

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