Zaldy Ampatuan has more exposés against Arroyo, says Justice Sec De Lima | Inquirer News
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Zaldy Ampatuan has more exposés against Arroyo, says Justice Sec De Lima

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 08:37 PM July 14, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Zaldy Ampatuan’s recent exposés might just be the opening salvo against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Thursday.

In an interview, De Lima said the former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) had recounted in unsigned affidavits various irregularities involving Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative, and her Cabinet.

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“Yes. What do you call these especially about the electoral fraud? I think other issues will still crop up,” De Lima said when asked if she thought Zaldy’s accusations were just part of a series of exposés against the Arroyo administration.

After revealing that Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel had ordered the rigging of the 2007 senatorial elections in Maguindanao, Zaldy also claimed that the former president got some P200 million in kickbacks from road projects in the ARMM.

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The allegations were contained in unsigned documents given to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

A source, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, told the INQUIRER that Zaldy had also executed an affidavit detailing how the Ampatuan family was able to acquire high-powered firearms from the government arsenal.

He claimed to have a copy of the “signed affidavit,” but he refused to provide one to the INQUIRER “for lack of authorization from Zaldy.”

In the supposed sworn statement, the former ARMM governor alleged that Arroyo directed the Armed Forces and the Department of National Defense to provide 50-cal. and 60-cal. machine guns and bullets for the  firearms to the family.

“The Ampatuans were then among Arroyo’s most favored political allies because she was using them to control the election results and to pocket billions of pesos in ‘commissions’ for different government projects in ARMM,” the source said.

He said Zaldy was ready to “tell all” about the irregularities in the use of billions of pesos in internal revenue allotment for ARMM as recently disclosed by Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.

Asked why the former ARMM governor suddenly decided to turn against Arroyo, he said: “Zaldy was deeply hurt by what has happened to him and his family after the Maguindanao massacre. Zaldy was hoping that Arroyo would help them in exchange for the loyalty their family had shown to her.”

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When asked if Zaldy was trying to use his bombshells against Arroyo in a bid to convince the Aquino administration to absolve him in the massacre case, the source said: “He just wanted to be heard and get protection for him and his family.”

As to why Zaldy spoke about what he knew about the anomalies in the Arroyo administration only now, the source surmised that his actions could be “a sign of desperation.”

Sought for comment, De Lima admitted that Zaldy had indeed revealed how the clan amassed high-powered guns in one of the unsigned documents.

“It was included there in the several supposed draft affidavits,” De Lima said. “But I cannot yet disclose the specifics precisely because this is just an assessment. I don’t think I have the authority to confirm exactly what those documents contained.”

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TAGS: crime and the law and justice, Edwin Lacierda, Government, Graft and Corruption, Harry Roque, Judiciary (system of justice), Maguindanao massacre, Murder, News, plea bargaining, Politics, state witnesses, witness protection program, Zaldy Ampatuan
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