Zaldy Ampatuan exposés just opening salvo vs GMA
Zaldy Ampatuan’s recent exposés may just be the opening salvo against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said 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.
“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 then President got some P200 million in kickbacks from road projects in the ARMM.
The allegations were contained in unsigned documents given to the 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.
The source claimed to have a copy of the “signed affidavit,” but refused to release it to the Inquirer “for lack of authority from Zaldy.”
In this affidavit, the former ARMM governor alleged that Arroyo directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of National Defense to provide 50-cal. and 60-cal. machine guns and bullets 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’ from different government projects in ARMM,” the source said.
De Lima admitted that Zaldy had revealed how the Ampatuan 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.”
Hurt by GMA
The source said Zaldy was also ready to “tell all” about the misuse of billions of pesos in internal revenue allotment for ARMM recently disclosed by Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
Asked why the former ARMM governor decided to turn against Arroyo, the source 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 her.”
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.”
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