Why Aquino is to blame for GMA walking free

Global alliance of overseas Filipinos and families Migrante International pins the blame at no other than Pres. Aquino for former president Gloria Arroyo’s release from hospital arrest.

The case of electoral sabotage lodged against Arroyo was feeble. It was a token last-ditch move on the Aquino administration’s part egged on by the Filipino’s people clamor to punish Arroyo for her numerous crimes. At the onset, it was clear that the case of electoral sabotage did not spring from Aquino’s sincere desire to prosecute Arroyo. This was further validated when no other decisive actions or filing of more potent cases against Arroyo ensued. For overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Arroyo should have been immediately put to trial for her plunder and corruption of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) funds – a charge which, among other numerous crimes, she continues to evade to this day.

Since Arroyo’s arrest, Aquino had done nothing but grant her favorable treatment. This has been cause for outrage, especially for OFWs in distress and their families who fall short of begging the Aquino government for much-needed services, protection and benefits.

Even the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona only served to further water down Arroyo’s sins against the people. OFWs supported the impeachment complaint against Corona on grounds that he was a “stumbling block” in the people’s demand to hold Arroyo accountable. However, Corona was not convicted for his association with Arroyo. Instead, prosecution charges against him deliberately downplayed the issues against the former president and thus allowed her to conceal behind all the mud-slinging and intrigue focused solely on Corona and his family.

Corona’s impeachment led to the question if indeed Aquino and his cohorts would go the next step and once and for all punish Arroyo. There is also the glaring fact that most of the 188 congressmen who signed the impeachment complaint were the ones who quashed previous impeachment complaints against Arroyo. With the 2013 elections nearing and Arroyo allies one-by-one aligning themselves with Aquino’s political coalition, it is not too far-fetched to believe that the granting of Arroyo’s bail petition may yet be another compromise for Aquino’s political expediency.

Aquino, a few days after the State of the Nation Address (SONA) where he boasted of instilling accountability in government, now invokes judicial independence as a lame duck excuse for the granting of Arroyo’s bail petition. This only underlines Aquino’s incompetence and lack of political will. The bottom line is that there are 101 reasons to put Arroyo in jail but she now walks free, enjoying the comforts of her home, worse, probably preparing to report back to Congress. This is deplorable and unacceptable to overseas Filipinos worldwide who have long fought for and demanded accountability from Arroyo and her family.

It is bad enough that Aquino did not even once address issues and concerns of OFWs in his SONA but this latest development is at once at insult and confirmation to OFWs that no justice, no accountability can be expected from Aquino and his administration. ###