Mike Arroyo: I wasn’t involved in ‘jueteng’ or smuggling
Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo on Monday denounced as “downright malicious” a supposed secret US Embassy cable based on claims by Filipino businessmen that he was involved in smuggling and illegal numbers racket during his wife’s presidency.
“I was never involved in ‘jueteng’ or smuggling. I never got involved in jueteng because I know that was what brought former President (Joseph) Estrada down,” said the husband of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“I don’t even know how to play jueteng. As to smuggling, why would I do that? I would never want to sabotage my wife’s anticorruption campaign,” Mike Arroyo said in a statement.
He said that the US sources—SGV founder Washington SyCip, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Francis Chua and Makati Business Club executive director Guillermo Luz—had been “openly critical” of the Arroyos.
SyCip was an adviser of then President Arroyo, while Chua was her main link to the Chinese-Filipino business community.
“It is very disheartening that whenever the economy or the popularity of President Aquino goes down, like the recent disappointing report on gross domestic product, it is almost always followed by an Arroyo-bashing episode based on recycled issues,” Mike Arroyo said.
“When will this stop? This administration and the Senate should do their jobs by concentrating on improving the lives of the Filipino people instead of engaging in never-ending persecution and character assassination.”
Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello has filed a resolution urging the House to conduct an inquiry into the allegations of “serious criminal activities” against Mike Arroyo and added that these claims were of “grave concern.”
Bello called on the three businessmen to come forward and tell the “whole truth,” saying their statements have “far reaching implication” not only on the country’s democratic institutions but also on international business confidence.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima voiced her support for the planned House inquiry. “That would make things easier if there are personalities who are really willing to share those information,” she said.
Vice President Jejomar Binay said he was not at all surprised by the WikiLeaks documents. “Is that news? Everybody knows it.” Binay said it was impossible that Arroyo was unaware of her husband’s activities.
No pattern of accuracy
While the WikiLeaks revelation supports his year-old claims of corruption against Mike Arroyo, Sen. Panfilo Lacson would rather be prudent in believing its report quoting businessmen.
“WikiLeaks is just like any other private investigator that can obtain information from (its) own sources like government officials and private individuals,” he said in an ambush interview. “Right now, I do not see a pattern of accuracy in (the WikiLeaks) information.”
Also Monday, the Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court to dismiss Mike Arroyo’s petition questioning the legality of the watch list order that De Lima had issued against him.
In a five-page manifestation, the justice department said that the issue had become moot because De Lima had already set aside her order.
Mike Arroyo was placed on the immigration bureau’s watch list on Aug. 4 upon the request of the Senate blue ribbon committee in connection with its probe on the alleged anomalous sale of secondhand helicopters to the Philippine National Police.
The PNP last week filed plunder charges against Mike Arroyo. This has prompted a study on whether the watch list order should be revived, according to De Lima. With reports from Marlon Ramos, Cathy Yamsuan and Dona Z. Pazzibugan
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