The facts on Arroyo’s cases

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What follows are the facts involving the cases against former President Arroyo, for which she has been denied freedom for two years and two months now.

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You judge if this is in pursuit of justice, or merely a merciless persecution for some reason by President Aquino that, in all honesty, I cannot understand.

Others explain it as Aquino’s need to portray his administration as fulfilling its anti-corruption campaign promise, which he however has completely botched.

President Aquino has been in power for three and a half years. In all this time, no customs official abetting smugglers, no BIR staff extorting a small businessman, no DPWH bureaucrat conniving in a rigged construction bidding, no police officer or high official in Malacanang in cahoots with jueteng lords have been caught and charged.

Nothing has been done to enhance the capacity of the Office of the Ombudsman to run after the corrupt, with its meager resources thrown against Arroyo and her officials, and even former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

November 18, 2011: Arroyo is ordered arrested on an “electoral sabotage” charge, based on the testimony of a single witness who claimed that she ordered then Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr. to cheat so that her administration’s senatorial candidates’ victory in the 2007 elections would be assured.

The witness, the only witness, is Ampatuan’s provincial administrator Norie Unas, who was alleged to be one of five people other than the governor who planned and executed the Maguindanao massacre of 58 unarmed men and women, including 32 journalists, in 2010. It was even Unas’ macabre idea to use a tractor-mounted backhoe in order to quickly bury and hide the corpses.

A recent vigil at the gates of Veterans Memorial Hospital asking for President Arroyo’s freedom.

A recent vigil at the gates of Veterans Memorial Hospital asking for President Arroyo’s freedom.

Unas claimed he “overheard” Arroyo—in the din of conversations of a hundred people in the hallway from a Malacanang dining room—issuing the order. Ampatuan has flatly denied Unas’ claim.

Unas has not been included among those charged in the Maguindanao massacre. When he testified at the Pasay City Regional Trial Court where the case was filed, Unas admitted—amazingly in a nonchalant way—that he agreed to testify in the case against Arroyo because he was seeking immunity from prosecution from his involvement in the Maguindanao massacre case.

March 2 and 12, 2012: A panel of investigators of the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed a plunder complaint against Arroyo filed in 2011 by Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, ex-general Danilo Lim, and the Aquino-appointed management of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. The investigators instead recommended a charge of graft or technical malversation, which are “bailable” offenses.

They alleged that Arroyo committed plunder as she authorized the release of P366 in PCSO’s confidential funds during her term. The evidence they submitted was the transcript of the Senate hearings on the controversy, which however did not recommend charges against Arroyo.

Hontiveros would run—unsuccessfully—for Senator under Aquino’s party in the 2013 elections, while Lim would be appointed deputy commissioner for intelligence of the graft-ridden Bureau of Customs. Lim would resign—or forced to resign—in August last year, having failed to curb smuggling in the country, which had worsened to include even smuggled rice and vegetables.

I don’t know how Hontiveros and Lim can sleep at nights, after having conspired with Aquino to put Arroyo in jail on flimsy charges, in exchange for a chance to be senator, in the case of the Akbayan party leader, and to get a crucial post at the Bureau of Customs, in the case of the former Marine general. They’re probably gnashing their teeth now over what have turned out to be  quintessential devil’s pacts.

July 16, 2012: Obviously informed that the Pasay City judge would soon allow bail for Arroyo and release her that month, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales reversed the recommendation of her original panel of investigators, and filed the plunder case involving PCSO funds at the Sandiganbayan. The filing was obviously rushed, as Arroyo’s lawyers weren’t even given copies of the Ombudsman resolution to do so, which is in violation of rules on graft cases.

July 25, 2012: Arroyo was granted bail on the electoral sabotage case, and released, eight months after she was arrested and after two hearings “The court believes that the prosecution failed to establish with the required quantum of proof, that conspiracy exists on the part of accused Arroyo,” said the court’s bail order.

October 2012: Arroyo is arrested for the PCSO plunder charge, upon orders of the Sandiganbayan.

January 2013: After several postponements on grounds that she was ill, one of PCSO’s Aquino-appointed board director, a former NGO official, Aleta Tolentino—whom the Ombudsman claimed was its star-witness—testified that she had no personal knowledge on the allegations, and that the PCSO had not found any single evidence that Arroyo even had access to the state-firms’ confidential funds.

Tolentino testified that Arroyo as President was required by law and Commission on Audit rules to sign the approval of confidential and intelligence funds of the PCSO.

All past presidents, even Aquino’s mother, routinely approved “confidential intelligence funds.” I should think that nowadays Aquino himself also routinely gives his approval. That former president Arroyo’s approval of these PCSO intelligence funds involves graft would have to be proven by evidence that the President or any other official who signed the release of such funds pocketed money from those intelligence funds. No such evidence has ever been presented, or even argued to exist by the prosecutors.

June 7, 2013: Sandiganbayan grants bail to Arroyo’s other co-accused, then PCSO chairman Sergio Valencia as well as board members Manuel Morato and Ray Roquero. Two of the three Sandiganbayan justices denied Arroyo’s bail petition. With no unanimous vote, two other justices were asked to join the panel to rule on Arroyo’s bail petition, as required by the Sandiganbayan’s procedure, with a majority vote sufficient for a decision.

November 6, 2013: The two additional judges who joined in to rule on Arroyo’s petition were Sandiganbayan Presiding Judge (the equivalent of Chief Justice in the case of the Supreme Court) Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Jose Hernandez.

Justice Tang voted not to grant Arroyo bail. Aquino appointed her to be the anti-graft court’s presiding judge just a month before, on October 3. The move had raised eyebrows in the legal community, as she was the most junior member of the Sandiganbayan, having been appointed by Aquino as associate justice, only in June 2012.

Associate Justice Rafael Lagos, who also voted against the bail petition, was the first associate justice Aquino appointed to the Sandiganbayan—in December 2010.

The third justice who voted against Arroyo’s bail in the June 2013 deliberation was Associate Justice Efren de la Cruz, who had been in the Sandiganbayan since 2003. Since, among other reasons, he was among the four most senior associate justices, de la Cruz was rumored to be the one to replace Presiding Justice Francisco Villacruz upon his retirement on June 7, 2013, when the Sandiganbayan division first ruled on Arroyo’s bail petition. But that was months before Aquino surprised everyone and appointed Tang as presiding judge instead.

January 21, 2014: Ombudsman prosecutors presented as witness against Arroyo Flerida Africa Jimenez, chief of the Intelligence and Confidential Funds Audit Office of the Commission on Audit (COA).

However, Jimenez practically cleared Arroyo of any wrongdoing, testifying that the confidential and intelligence funds the former president was accused of “plundering” was fully liquidated in 2008, 2009 and 2010, with the COA finding no anomaly or irregularity in their use.

She reiterated the official findings of the Commission on Audit of PCSO for the years Arroyo was alleged to have “plundered” its intelligence funds, that there were no anomalies not only in her approval of these funds, but that PCSO management had liquidated these funds according to government procedures.

That could be the reason the chairman of the COA then Reynaldo Villar was included among the accused in Arroyo’s plunder charge. They wanted to pressure him to reverse his findings during those years, or else suffer in jail.

To be honest, I cannot understand why officials close to Aquino—the likes of Mar Roxas, Corazon Soliman, Florencio Abad, and Teresita Deles—are cheering Arroyo’s cruel persecution, when they know in their heart of hearts, after spending more than five years with the former president, that she is innocent of the crimes for which she is being detained.

Often boasting that they have spent much of their adult years in struggling for justice, why do they tolerate such ruthless injustice inflicted upon Arroyo whom they will admit was not only their superior who gave them an opportunity to serve the country, but their bosom friend then?

I cannot understand why their hearts have turned to stone: Don’t they realize that the 66-year old grandmother requires urgent specialist treatment abroad, or just the peace of mind living at home could provide, or else as her doctor put it, she would suffer serious impairment of her health, and even worse?

And the other cases against Arroyo that grabbed headlines of mainstream newspapers several years ago?

All of these have been dismissed, pending (i.e., still being evaluated as to their merits) at the Ombudsman or at the Sandiganbayan.

After more than three years during which this administration has ransacked government records and bribed—unsuccessfully—former officials whom they thought would be “whistle-blowers, the only cases against Arroyo are one that’s completely based on a massacre-suspect’s dubious allegations and another based on a Senate, in-aid-of-publicity, investigation.

Indeed, as that Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger so aptly put it, “Time discloses truth” (Veritatem dies aperit.)

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
www.rigobertotiglao.com and www.trigger.ph
FB: Rigoberto D. Tiglao

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36 Comments

  1. GMA biktima ng karimarimarim, kakadiring, karumaldumal tsimiseeesess ng mga tsimissesess oriented people…

  2. Jailing GMA is cruelty. Abnoy has no heart but any way, after his term he will be put to jail also and GMA will be freed. That will be the time that GMA will laugh out loud.

  3. Felix Servidad on

    I can’t imagine why ombudsman conchita carpio filed a plunder case against GMA in sandigan bayan when they themselves dismissed the same case filed by Hontiveros.
    Kids like games, ( me bawian) C’est pas possible! The government lead by Pnoy, seems playing (bahay bahayan) I believe Pnoy and his cohorts have no conscience anymore, it’s unbelievable what they’re doing with GMA, only a person without conscience are capable of doing what they are doing with GMA.

  4. I am really in a quandary why with the combined hatred of countless Filipinos for BS Pinoy iiI, he can still stand and wake up in the morning. Maybe the big Karma is just bidding time and will soon explode in his face to finally make him suffer the way he made a lot of Filipinos suffer with his poor governance.

  5. So P-noy believes that he is untouchable and he can do anything he pleases without regretting his actions in the future. Perhaps when the time comes, during his post-Malacanang years, he would soon be reminiscing about those memorable days where he lorded it over the entire country and his enemies were mere toysthat he played with gusto. Those will be his favorite tales for himself in his lonesome at the mental asylum, because I doubt that P-noy is equipped with mental capacity and flexibility to witstand the psychological pressures from the many cases awaiting him from vengeful sectorse demanding retributions for his sins.

  6. carolina viray on

    detailed and factual exposition of GMA’s sufferings. in God’s time GMA will be vindicated!

  7. Gloria deserves to rot in jail for as long as it takes. We were all witnesses how she, her family and friends robbed the Filipinos of its wealth. The justice system in the Philippines sucks! Pnoy did what needs to be done to make her stay there.

  8. There is really nothing we can do except wait for Boy Tuwid to step down in 2016 or hopefully before that. GMA is a trophy prisoner. Exhibit A of Boy Tuwid’s daang matuwid mantra. After detaining his predecessor for so long, it would be a slap on his face if GMA is released for nothing. I even suspect that this president has a sick mind and being empathy deficient is just a symptom. There could be something darker. Look at how he treat that Hongkong episode. Tragic… kawawa naman tayo.

  9. I bet ombudsman morales will pack up in her office once a non ally wins the presidency in 2016. Siguradong gagantihan naman si pnoy at mga kasama nito. I just wonder saan ospital magpapakulong si pnoy? Baka sa siyudad ni abalod

  10. In the most recent column of Archbishop Oscar Cruz, he reprinted the 1997 declaration of CBCP on the culture of Philippine Politics. He added that since then up to now, that is 17 years, there is no substantial change that can be observed. There is a disconnect of your assertion in this column to that of the Archbishop. If as you said it is a “merciless persecution” then, the Archbishop had missed this these changes in the culture during the administration of GMA. So who is telling the truth between the two of you? (rhetorical question)

  11. robert del callar on

    reasons personal to pnoy are the only logical explanation for his bone chilling abomination against arroyo..imelda marcos’ comment might help us understand his mindset.. imelda said ninoy asked her he be allowed to go to the us for his bypass operation which she allegedly okd. ninoy asked for some “help” for his bypass which she acceded..ninoy allegedly went back to imelda for another “help” but this time it is for his autistic son..for those in doubt of the veracity of this, you can ask imelda. she’s very vocal on this.. and this explains how pnoy’s mind works.

  12. What comes around goes around. President BS Aquino is the most vindictive president I know.

  13. canuto dinglasan on

    Mr. Tiglao, how about an article on the facts about President Joseph Estrada’s case? I, together with thousands if not millions of other Filipinos, think he was also a victim of injustice.

  14. That’s why it is imperative that whoever seats on the throne in the palace by the Pasig gets a ‘pabaon’ as exemplified by the PAF generals is indeed a necessity! Why, elementary, as temporary occupant of said throne then once that person vacates the premises he/she becomes vulnerable for their “sins” to litigation and/or persecution-spelled as prosecution!! Ask GMA who w/o her ‘pabaon’ would be in really dire straits so as my father always said… “walang umaalis na presidente sa Malacanyan na pulubi, kasi gago (gaga, in this case) siya kung papayag na walang dalang perang panlaban”!? Plus the often mis-applied statement by the late Sen. Avelino…”what are we in power for” certainly applies to any and all Filipino politicians!?! Kaya ‘wag masyadong maawa sa sino man nasa politika na “under prosecution” please, it is neither justice nor revenge but simple punishment.
    Of course, since you can’t please every body then it’s best to be ready and well-funded!!! For those who didn’t get what they wanted when you had the opportunity to grant their ‘capricho(s)’ will seek retribution for the lost income inflicted upon them since money is always involved where politics is concerned, ‘di ba?!
    Thank you for the opportunity to get this off my chest.

  15. I agree with you Mr Tiglao. Maybe this is one of the reasons of these strings of headaches that hound Malacanang nowadays , Karma.

  16. I don’t need to accuse this writer of any political motive but if he believes that regardless of politics, every Filipino has to face reality . There is an enormous problem of corruption and no matter who is handling the government somebody has to hold the bull in its horns and confront it. Last year, billions of money was once again siphoned for personal use and corrupt politicians had no qualms or shame doing it and what is worse is that this was just a tip of the iceberg. For a poor country like the Philippines this practice has been going on for decades and nobody has gone to jail yet. Well, there were supposedly peoples’ actions against this, by way of the Marcos uprising or the Estada revolt but somehow they are back to glory. In other countries, they are executed but in the Philippines they go through a revolving door- out and then they come back. Now Pres. Aquino wants to show that he is serious and went after those corrupt officials, like Corona, succeeded in impeaching him but .now wants to complete the job by going after his illegal enrichment but voila’ here comes this writer and a few others imputing politics in the act or questioning his motive. This writer should let the judicial process continue and if Corona is innocent then the administration will get the ire of the people but if he is guilty then he should be punished and the illegal wealth confiscated and the administration congratulated for its effort.

    • kung mahina ang ebidensiya laban kay Gloria dapat bigyan siya ng pagkakataon makapagpiyansa…e kung ang mga kapwa niya akusado tulad ni Manoling Morato nakapagpiyansa dapat siya rin….mas mabuti pa ang judge sa electoral sabotage laban kay Gloria na si Judge Mupas nakapagdesisyon ng ayon sa ebidensiya

  17. noelravalsalaysay on

    Pnoy has no legal background but his appointed Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan heads are a disgrace to the legal professions and have brought the rule of law in disrepute; Pnoy and his appointed legal luminaries are digging in their own grave because for sure,after PNoy’s term there will be mountain of civil cases and disbarment procedures to last their lifetime. The legal system of PNoy is a shame. Our only recourse is hope that the remaining independent Supreme Court Justices will be the bastion of justice and fairness.PNoy and his congress allies will have their day in court after 20″ Alis dyan”.

  18. Hacienda Luisita is the main cause why PGMA is being persecuted by Panot-noy.
    Like wise with CJ Corona who was impeached because he led the Supreme Court ruling that Hacienda Luisita finally should be distributed to the peasants. This is Aquino – Cojuangco’s revenge on them.

  19. canuto dinglasan on

    Forget the legalities. What goes around comes around. Her persecution and imprisonment are simply karma for what she did to President Estrada.

    • GMA has nothing to do with the persecution of ERAP. It was Cory Aquino who lead the ousting of ERAP, GMA happens to be the benefactor because she was the constitutional successor at that particular time.

    • Unbailable ang kaso ni Erap. Gloria couldn’t do anything.

      But Erap and the rest of the Pro-Erap “Gloria Bashers” should have thanked Gloria for quick resolution of the case. Imagine, kung may ganitong kapalpakan sa kaso ni Erap noon … E DI LAHAT NG MAIINGAY KASAMA NA UNG MGA SULSOL NI DA KING, TIYAK RALLY ARAW ARAW.

      Immediately after the conviction, Gloria issued pardon to Erap despite pressure from the Moralista group.

  20. Mr. Tiglao all humans are the same we have the feelings, we have the soft spots to forgive and love. But for Mrs. Arroyo who committed such impunity and ruled party with her iron fist, how it’s easy to see and said these things. Try to remember the long list how Arroyo punish her detractors or opposition. Let’s make the record straight. The FPJ vote rigging is these legal and fair. She admitted sorry, but the damage is done. FPJ think too much beaten badly by conspiracy of devil, then cause him death. Where is Garci fugitive. Speaker De Venecia, when he try to tell, divulge about the truth of NBN ZTE deal, the whole brunt of Arroyos mastery in the house muscle it like bulldozer. Next the Plea bargaining of Carlos Garcia to lessen his offense, including the Euro Generals connected to her, When Sen. Trillanes spoiling the truth, what did she do they put him into jail to silenced her. Look at what GMAIL done to punish her victim like Martial Law. Gen. Palaparan let him run like a killing General to run over her opponents. If what happens to Ex. Pres. GMA now is only karma. That life is short God has given us to rule, make the best of it. But for her she’s a failure. Sorry to say these Mr. Tiglao but not all the time you hold the aces. You also get the joker.

    • File a case that can be proved so she can rot in jail. Not these contrived accusations. The ends do jot justify the means.

    • Darewin Ocampo on

      NBN ZTN deal did not even push trough and De Venecia just made noise because his son’s company did now win the bid. As for being vindictive against enemies, GMA does not even come close to Pnoy.

    • hannah gomez ypil on

      That is what you think, didn’t the government of benigno s aquino filed those cases but cant pin GMA down, it is because what you said are all allegations not proven by benigno aquino’s conchita carpio moral less

  21. Abnoy, Morales, Soliman, Abad, Roxas, Drillon, de Lima et al. beware. The time will come, not far off, the suffering you’ve imposed on PGMA will haunt you all the way to Bilibid. Your betrayal and crimes will be a blot to your already dark reputations. All this malevolent karma, because of your evil hearts, well deserved. No matter what penance you make, your suffering will be exacted as sentence.