Palace calls flippant Mike Arroyo’s dare to President Aquino
“Ridiculous, flippant,” President Benigno Aquino III’s spokesperson Edwin Lacierda dismissed the challenge thrown by former President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo’s husband at Mr. Aquino to accompany them overseas to see for himself that they would not evade prosecution.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan was outraged by Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo’s challenge.
“This corrupted sense of entitlement speaks volumes of how this couple treats high public office. How dare they view the Office of the President as some sort of butler service they can avail [themselves] of to attend to their personal needs?” Pangilinan said in a statement.
“The President has infinitely more important things to attend to than act as ‘alalay’ to the Arroyos. Enough is enough. Their abusive and corrupted ways should be exposed and opposed,” he said.
The Arroyos have asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order on the inclusion of the former President in the immigration bureau’s watch list.
Speaking at a press briefing, Lacierda said that despite the “ridiculous proposition” of Arroyo’s husband, Malacañang would stand by its offer and “bring in the specialist of her choice.”
But he refused to say how much the Aquino administration was willing to spend for the medical treatment of Arroyo, now a representative of Pampanga and among the wealthiest members of the House.
The Palace offer earlier drew criticism, particularly in social networking sites, that the government should not use taxpayers’ money for someone like Arroyo who could shoulder her own medical expenses.
In a phone interview with reporters Friday, Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz said it was “strange” that the government was offering financial aid to Arroyo, who is being barred from going abroad because of the plunder and electoral sabotage complaints filed against her.
“The President appears to be very ready in spending public funds for his own plans and decisions … but the former President does not need financial assistance,” Cruz said.
“She has more than enough for her own needs,” he said.
Lacierda tried to downplay the contention of Arroyo’s allies that the Aquino administration would not be able to live with its conscience in the event that her condition deteriorated.
He pointed out that Health Secretary Enrique Ona had determined Arroyo’s condition as not life-threatening.
“In fact, in the medical abstract that [Ona] saw, [her] medical condition was improving,” Lacierda said.
On Thursday, four senators backed Arroyo’s petition to be allowed to seek medical treatment abroad. They said that her right to travel was guaranteed by the Constitution, and that no case had been filed against her in court.
Lacierda declined to comment on the statement of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, a constitutionalist, that Arroyo could take her case to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
“I think Senator Miriam should advise the Arroyos if that’s the tack that they should take. We will not comment on that,” he said. With a report from Jocelyn R. Uy