Foes vow to ease up on Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s adversaries in the Senate will let up on their criticism of her until she recovers from surgery.
It remains to be seen if they can restrain themselves when the Senate blue ribbon committee opens hearings today (Thursday) into the allegedly irregular sale of secondhand helicopters to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The helicopters had been allegedly used extensively by Arroyo family members before being sold brand-new to the PNP, it is alleged.
The senators cited “humanitarian reasons” for the temporary ceasefire, saying they understand that the Pampanga congresswoman should not be subjected to stress or pressure that could hamper her recovery.
But this should not be taken to mean that Arroyo is being “let off the hook,” said Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, the son of deposed President and convicted plunderer Joseph Estrada whose 2001 ouster catapulted Arroyo to the presidency.
Also wishing the former President well were known critics Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Frank Drilon, Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano and Vicente Sotto III.
Her doctors said Arroyo is suffering from a condition called cervical spondylosis for which she would need surgery or risk being paralyzed.
Arroyo is facing multiple congressional investigations and six plunder cases on charges ranging from alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds and alleged cheating in the 2004 presidential elections.
From Malacañang, President Benigno Aquino III said he wished Arroyo a full recovery but indicated his government was determined to file cases against her despite her condition.
“Regardless of her condition the wheels of justice will have to move and to turn,” he said to reporters at the 2011 National Science and Technology Week at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
He said it would be for the courts to determine if Arroyo should be granted hospital or house arrest should cases be filed against her while she is ill.
Arroyo has been confined at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig since Monday, the day Mr. Aquino said in his state of the nation address (Sona) that he expected the government to file its “first major case against the corrupt and their accomplices” now that Conchita Carpio-Morales, the recently retired Supreme Court justice, had been named as the new Ombudsman.
“I hope the operation goes well. When a person’s health is the issue, whether ally or foe, we should pray for a successful surgery, and then for a speedy recovery,” said Lacson. With reports from Christine Avendaño
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