Communist Party of the Philippines
It took the Aquino regime exactly 505 days to file criminal charges and effect the arrest and detention of former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In comparison, it took the former Arroyo regime eighty-five days to charge and incarcerate former President Joseph Estrada. While pleased with the filing of charges, the Filipino people cannot ignore the great delay with which it took the Aquino regime to finally move forward in prosecuting Arroyo for her crimes against the people.
The Aquino regime chose to file charges on one of the least consequential among the numerous number of contemptible crimes committed by Gloria Arroyo during her nine-year regime. For the Filipino people, the manipulation of the results of the 2007 elections in Maguindanao to favor Arroyo’s senatorial candidates—while reprehensible in itself—pales in comparison to the following crimes:
the outright rigging of the 2004 polls in which her hands-on role in ensuring her electoral victory over presidential candidate Fernando Poe, Jr was publicly exposed in the “Hello Garci” tapes.
the multibillion peso bribery case involving the Philippine government’s National Broadband Network deal with China’s ZTE Corporation where Arroyo, her husband Mike and a number of her key officals were directly involved as shown by the investigations conducted by the Philippine senate in 2007.
the P728-million Fertilizer Fund Scam where key officials of the Arroyo government were proven to have diverted funds for use in the 2004 elections; the misuse of the P325 million PCSO intelligence funds; the diversion and misuse of the P550 million overseas workers welfare fund; the overpricing of the Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard; and the 2001 IMPSA bribery deal, among others.
the campaign of extrajudicial killings and widespread reign of terror and violations of human rights perpetrated by the AFP under the direct orders of key Malacañang officials under Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya. In hearings held in The Hague in 2007, the Permanent People’s Tribunal found Gloria Arroyo and the Bush regime of the US responsible for gross and systematic violations of human rights, economic plunder and transgression of the Filipino people’s sovereignty.
Not a few people are dismayed at the hospital arrest of Gloria Arroyo, not so much because they are insensitive to her medical condition, but because they are acutely aware of the Filipino people’s desire for justice. Very few are sympathetic to Arroyo and have outrightly raised doubts as to the severity of her illness. They are scandalized by the P50,000 a day five-star accomodations at her hospital “detention cell.” They cannot help but recall how she and her ilk basked in power, amassed and stashed away vast amounts of money, wined, dined and partied, ordered the persecution of her enemies and the silencing of dissent. Arroyo cannot expect much sympathy from the Filipino who suffered the grave consequences of her regime’s plunderous, brutal and puppet rule.
By filing charges and detaining Gloria Arroyo, the Aquino regime has earned some brownie points. Aquino is on a PR swing, taking full advantage of the public attention generated by the Arroyo arrest. Aquino is only too eager to ride the anti-Arroyo bandwagon to obscure the failure of his fallacious campaign promise of resolving the people’s poverty by eliminating or reducing corruption. After failing to address the most pressing problems of the people, Aquino needs to prop-up Arroyo as the archetype of corruption in order to draw away attention from the outstanding socio-economic problems arising from his regime’s antipeople, anti-democratic and antinational policies.
The political and legal maneuvers and counter-maneuvers leading to the Arroyos’ attempt to leave the country and the last-minute filing of charges and arrest of Arroyo underscore the deep fissures among the ranks of the ruling classes. However, we must not forget that there has been a long history of collaboration between these two families. In the 2010 elections, the Aquinos and the Arroyos made agreements of convenience under the US’ auspices which ensured Aquino’s automated victory and the smooth transition of power.
The filing of criminal charges against Arroyo and her arrest has strengthened the people’s determination to push through with efforts to attain justice for the crimes committed by the previous regime. There is a growing clamor from different sectors to charge Arroyo for all her past crimes. Relatives of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre have been emboldened to hold Arroyo accountable for arming and propping up the Ampatuan private army. The slew of cases that can be be filed against Arroyo will make it difficult for her to forge arrangements to secure acquittals or receive an Estrada-style pardon.
The Filipino people demand that the full weight of justice be meted out against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. They intend to exercise the utmost vigilance and continue to vigorously push for the prosecution and punishment of Arroyo and her ilk for the crimes committed during their plunderous and fascist rule. They are guarding against any sort of accomodation for Arroyo.
The Filipino people will not lose sight of the need to push for fundamental changes in the ruling socio-economic and political system. They are fully aware that the prosecution and punishment of Arroyo, while correct and just, will not resolve their most pressing problems. They will continue to resist the policies of the Aquino regime that favor foreign big corporations and their local big business partners and have resulted in severe unemployment, low wages, landlessness, spiralling prices of petroleum, food and other basic commodities and cuts in social spending.