Human rights group hits Aquino for failing to convict Arroyo
A human rights group on Tuesday blamed the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III for failing to convict his predecessor, former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, despite supposed rights abuses committed during the latter’s term.
Reacting to the Supreme Court decision acquitting Arroyo of plunder charges, Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay said Aquino only used Arroyo as a cover-up for his alleged “inefficiency and ineptitude in governance.”
“#BoySisi, with all his fault-finding against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, failed to convict her. BS Aquino only used Arroyo as an excuse for his inefficiency and ineptitude in governance, and pursued charges against Arroyo only for a show,” Palabay said in a statement.
In an 11-4 vote, the high tribunal granted Arroyo’s petition seeking the dismissal of her remaining plunder case at the Sandiganbayan for the alleged misuse of the P366-million Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) fund.
Arroyo was arrested in 2011 on electoral fraud charges in connection with the 2007 polls but was allowed bail in 2012. However, before she could be freed, the Sandiganbayan ordered her arrest for plunder involving alleged misuse of P366 million in intelligence funds of the PCSO when she was President.
Palabay said the Aquino administration did not pursue Arroyo’s prosecution over the killings of journalists and human rights advocates, lamenting that “there was no substantial progress on these cases.”
“We are reminding the Supreme Court that the Arroyo government left behind 1,206 victims of political killings and 206 victims of enforced disappearances among activists, peasants and human-rights workers,” Palabay said.
The group said that while “plunderers and murderers” like Arroyo are set free from prison, more than 500 political prisoners remain in jail, “many of them arrested during the Arroyo regime.”
Palabay also pointed out it was under the Arroyo administration when the Maguindanao massacre, dubbed the single deadliest event for journalists in the world, happened. TVJ
“The case which symbolizes the height of impunity remains unresolved during the whole Aquino term. Arroyo, just like Aquino, has benefitted from the systematic human rights violations in order to stay in power and plunder the nation’s coffers,” Palabay said.
“The challenge for the Duterte administration is to render justice for those whose rights were violated by the Arroyo and Aquino regime. Arroyo and Aquino should be prosecuted and punished,” she added./rga
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