Pampanga allies not mounting protests but concerned about Arroyo treatmentBy Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Jun Malig, Tonette Orejas
Inquirer Central Luzon
MINALIN, Philippines—It’s quiet at the home front.
Allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Pampanga are not mounting any rallies showing support for her or decrying President Aquino for her arrest due to alleged electoral sabotage.
The Pampanga Mayors’ League (PML) has not planned any protest actions although some mayors felt that Arroyo, now representative of the province’s second district, has not been getting due process, said Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo, PML president.
“We also feel that the government has too much problems already. We don’t want to be another problem to our government,” Pelayo said by telephone on Sunday.
“What we just want is fair trial for Congresswoman Arroyo,” he said. Earlier, Pelayo said he and other political allies of Arroyo were hopeful that history would prove her critics and accusers wrong.
With the case now in court, he said Arroyo would have the chance to defend herself, noting that the issue “will no longer be mere trial by publicity.”
Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan said he was not aware of any rally that would be mounted by Kapampangans.
Pamintuan, in a text message on Saturday, said it was both surprising and saddening for many Kapampangans to witness how Arroyo was treated.
He said: “President Aquino and [Interior] Secretary [Jesse] Robredo had said that being a former president, she (Arroyo) should be shown some respect. But are they doing that? Instead of letting her get medical attention… they are aggravating her physical condition.”
“From an issue of health to right to travel, the issue has transformed into a larger one – one that now challenges our constitutional, [judicial] and legal processes and institutions. The issue has gone beyond the former president,” Pamintuan said.
Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda, a close friend of Arroyo’s, urged the PML to be calm and to focus on governance work.
She said she has been praying that Arroyo’s health would improve and that she would continue to be brave amid the issues being raised against her.
The last time that the PML staged a pro-Arroyo rally was in November 2007 or a month after then Gov. Eddie Panlilio disclosed that he received P500,000 after he and local officials met Arroyo in Malacañang while another impeachment complaint was being prepared against her.
In Bulacan, former San Jose del Monte City Representative Angelito Sarmiento said the conflict between the executive and judicial branches of government over the cases involving Arroyo and her arrest had set a bad example of how democracy has been working in the country.
“The manner by which the arrest warrant was served had set a bad example, especially if we look at it within the context of the proper implementation of the law,” he said in Filipino.