Militants lead protests vs GMA bail
MEMBERS of the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) today held simultaneous protests at the Pasay Regional Trial Court and the Veteran’s Memorial Medical Center to protest the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s attempts to be granted bail by the high court. Arroyo is facing charges of election sabotage in relation to the 2007 polls. The crime is non-bailable. Arroyo however remains under hospital arrest at the VMMC.
The protest came a day after an Arroyo ally in the Lower House appealed to the president for leniency towards Arroyo. The group also called on the Aquino government to show seriousness in going after Arroyo for her other crimes.
“Arroyo does not deserve bail. We seriously doubt the so-called surveys saying that the people are OK with her being granted bail or placed under house arrest. Also, the election sabotage case is not the only heinous crime of the former president. The Aquino government will surely be to blame if Arroyo goes out on bail. It would be a big disservice to the people and a huge embarrassment for this mediocre government. We were told that the impeachment of Corona was about making GMA accountable, but now GMA might be out on bail if it is shown that evidence against her is not that strong,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“To keep GMA in detention, her other crimes must be pursued by this government. These include gross human rights violations, plunder and the wholesale election fraud of 2004. Failure to do so would mean that this government is not serious in going after GMA,” Reyes added.
Bayan however is concerned that the rushed case of election sabotage filed against Arroyo, at the time when she was attempting to leave the country, will show weaknesses that can be exploited by Arroyo’s defense.
“Everyone knows that GMA was on top of the massive cheating that happened in 2004 and 2007. The problem is that it took the Aquino government more than 500 days before it could file the first case against the former president. And it was only because GMA was already attempting to flee the country after the Supreme Court granted her a Temporary Restraining Order versus a DOJ travel ban,” Reyes said.
Arroyo’s defense lawyers are expected to begin today their presentation of evidence regarding their petition for bail. The former president is being linked to election fraud by lone witness, Norie Unas, a former Maguindanao provincial administrator. Unas had told a court hearing on Arroyo’s petition for bail on Thursday that he overheard Arroyo telling Ampatuan to ensure a 12-0 victory for the administration’s senatorial candidates.