Palace aide: Aquino not vindictive; Arroyo must account for her acts
MANILA, Philippines—What drives President Benigno Aquino in his effort to prosecute his immediate predecessor for alleged corruption and election fraud?
Malacañang on Saturday defended the President against an impression he was going after ex-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now a Pampanga congressional representative, out of sheer “vindictiveness.”
“This is not about vindictiveness. This is not about political persecution. This is about accountability,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in her weekly media forum aired over Radyo ng Bayan.
Valte reminded the President’s critics that if his efforts against Arroyo were borne out of spite, his administration should have filed a string of charges against her “since day one.”
“Government is in a position to do so many things to abuse power, but that is not the style of President Aquino,” she said. “We go through the right process.”
Valte noted that no less than the camp of Arroyo had promised to face the charges in the proper forum. “This is that day. They will have their day in court,” she said.
One of Arroyo’s attending physicians on Friday all but ended speculation about her real medical condition, testifying in court that she was now “medically fit” to leave the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City.
“As far as my sub-specialty is concerned, she is fit to be treated as an outpatient,” Dr. Mario Ver, an orthopedic surgeon, told the court.
Valte said Arroyo’s lawyers and spokespersons should now refrain from talking about her medical condition in media and instead leave the matter to her doctors.
“Have pity on the doctors. Don’t issue your own medical bulletin because you are not doctors,” she said in Filipino. “Even I, when asked if President Aquino has colds, don’t respond because I am not a doctor.”
Valte added: “When it comes to (Arroyo’s) medical condition, let’s just allow her doctors to speak about it.”
Senator Teofisto Guingona III, head of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, earlier announced that it would summon Arroyo’s doctors to testify on her real medical condition. His committee, along with the committee on electoral reforms, is set to resume on Nov. 29 its inquiry into alleged election fraud under the Arroyo administration.
Guingona said on Saturday that the committee would no longer summon the doctors, saying their court testimony “clearly established the true and accurate medical condition of Mrs. Arroyo.”
“The committee has therefore decided that there is no more need to invite the said doctors,” he said in a statement.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.