Militants want swift prosecution for birthday girl Arroyo
MANILA, Philippines—It’s a birthday wish like no other for former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo: her “swift prosecution and imprisonment.”
On Arroyo’s 64th birthday Tuesday, the militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and the Imprison Arroyo Movement (IAM) staged a rally at the Department of Justice urging Secretary Leila de Lima to prosecute the former president for the scuttled $329-million national broadband network deal with Chinese firm ZTE.
Bayan’s National Capital Region chapter said in a statement that the rally was its way “to greet and send their birthday wish to Arroyo which is for her immediate prosecution and imprisonment.”
Bayan Muna party-list representatives filed a criminal complaint at the DoJ against Arroyo on July 1 last year, the first day that she lost her presidential immunity, stemming from the controversial broadband deal with the Chinese company.
In a text message to reporters, De Lima said that she had referred the Bayan complaint against Arroyo to the Truth Commission last year.
But with the Supreme Court’s nullification of Executive Order No. 1 creating the Truth Commission, De Lima said that she was now “minded” to look into the complaint.
“Given its specific mandate under EO 1, I deemed it best to refer such complaint to the Truth Commission. With the SC’s nullification of EO 1, albeit not yet final on account of the (motion for reconsideration), I’m now minded to take cognizance thereof,” De Lima said.
De Lima said she would evaluate Bayan’s complaint “to determine if it’s already sufficient for preliminary investigation.”
“We challenge (President Aquino) and the DoJ to grant our birthday wish for GMA (Arroyo’s initials) and start all possible means to put Arroyo and her cohorts behind bars. Now is the best time for Aquino to make [a] significant move to let Mrs. Arroyo pay the price of [her] anti-people policies during her nine years stay in the sit (sic) of power,” said Paulo Quiza, Bayan-NCR spokesperson in the statement.
“It is such a shame for the government of Aquino to see Mrs. Arroyo roam around the House of Representatives freely and enjoy liberty, despite her sins against the people. Arroyo deserves a place on (sic) detention facilities and not inside the halls of Congress,” Quiza added.
Bayan-NCR said it was dismayed at the long drawn out action of Mr. Aquino’s government over the cases of corruption and human rights violations allegedly committed by the Arroyo administration, adding it was already doubtful of the “sincerity and determination” of the President to make Arroyo accountable of her alleged “crimes against the Filipino people.”
“We, the Filipino people have waited long enough for the Aquino government to fulfill his promise that it will take legal actions against Arroyo. If President Aquino can turn his back on the offenses of Arroyo then we will never be forgetful and will always be keen on the progress of the cases filed against Arroyo,” Quiza said.
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