Arroyo conviction under Aquino govt looks bleak- youth group

A YOUTH group expressed fears that the conviction of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo and her cohorts, like General Jovito “the Butcher” Palparan and Andal Ampatuan Sr., “looks bleak under the Aquino government.”

“It seems to us that the President is merely using anti-Arroyo rhetoric as political capital to expand and consolidate his absolute control over all three branches of government without a real drive to punish Arroyo for her crimes against the people”, said Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan National Chair.

“Or were the impeachment and criminal prosecution afterwards just really a vengeful act against the high court’s ruling to immediately distribute Hacienda Luisita?” the youth leader added.

Anakbayan scoffed at Aquino’s post-impeachment speech saying that Arroyo was the context of the trial against the chief magistrate and that it was the Executive’s obligation to investigate and file charges against the former president but Corona, “the biggest stumbling block”, gets in the way. The group said it was just plain “palusot”.

“Already nearing his three years in office but still no cases of large-scale corruption, war crimes and gross violations of human rights and wholesale election fraud have been filed against Arroyo. Nothing. Not even a direct promise that he will go after, convict and jail GMA”, Crisostomo said.

This week, the prosecution failed to present “its strongest witnesses to prove the alleged poll rigging in 2007” because Norie Unas and Russam Mabang backed off the witness stand for fear of their security being compromised. Unas was supposed to testify that he heard Arroyo order Ampatuan to tamper the 2007 results. Mabang, on the other hand, would have testified that it was him who encoded the tampered election document.

“Witnesses against Arroyo and her cohorts are hunted down one by one as if intended to send a message to other potential witnesses”, Crisostomo said.

Third witness to the Maguindanao Massacre—dubbed as the single worst killing of journalists and lawyers in the world—Esmail Amil Enog who was gone missing since March was found dead, body “probably chain-sawed to pieces”.

Rolando Manalo, brother of the principal witness against Ret. Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan and one of the “Manalo brothers”, succumbed to six gunshot wounds in San Rafael, Bulacan last May 16.

“Aquino’s “tuwid na daan” seems to be a slow lane for justice. Now that the “stumbling block” has been removed, Aquino is left with no further excuse not to convict GMA lest we are correct in saying that Aquino and Arroyo are strategic allies, sharing the interest of maintaining the ruling system and oppressing the Filipino people.”

“Because contrary to popular belief, we Filipinos do not forgive and forget at once. The people will make them pay for their crimes”, Crisostomo  said.

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