KMU warned that Akbayan seems to be helping out in the “slow but sure return of open cordial relations between former allies Arroyo and Aquino.”
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – Almost four years into his term, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has yet to win a case of plunder against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who stepped down in 2010 with record unpopularity ratings and allegations of election cheating and corruption.
This week, national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno questioned the Akbayan partylist over its publicized support for allowing the former president and now Pampanga congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s to post bail. The labor group warned that Akbayan’s call, aired by its representative Walden Bello last Sunday, is a signal for “open rapprochement between Arroyo’s camp and Pres. Benigno Noynoy Aquino III’s camp, to which Akbayan is allied at present.”
Macapagal-Arroyo has been seeking to post bail in one of her plunder cases. While the public is riveted to new revelations about a long-running pork scam involving billions, four plunder cases against Arroyo have been junked by the Ombudsman. Arroyo is currently being held at Veterans Memorial Medical Center in lieu of a jail, owing to her health condition, according to her lawyers.
In a statement, KMU vice chairman Lito Ustarez conceded that while Arroyo’s posting of bail may be legal, “It is the height of legalistic narrow-mindedness to say that she should be allowed to post bail on the basis of a single case.” Arroyo’s bail petition is in relation to her plunder case stemming from the alleged misuse of funds of the Philippine Charity and Sweepstakes Office.
Ustarez said “Arroyo committed numerous and grave crimes against the Filipino workers and people.” As such, he said, they are “disgusted,” though not surprised, that a group such as Akbayan which claims to be critical of Arroyo could explicitly support her bid for freedom.
The labor leader recalled that Akbayan “only distanced itself from Arroyo at the height of the ‘Hello Garci’ scandal in 2005, despite the former chief executive’s anti-poor and pro-US policies and the reign of impunity under her term which recorded numerous extra-judicial killings and other human-rights violations.”
“It is not surprising for Akbayan to make this pro-Arroyo call. It is after all close to Arroyo and it has been desperately clinging to various factions of the country’s economic and political elites despite its claims of being progressive,” Ustarez added.
As the Aquino government itself is getting entangled now in issues of corruption, KMU warned that Akbayan seems to be helping out in the “slow but sure return of open cordial relations between former allies Arroyo and Aquino.”